Skripal case 8: ずくなしの冷や水

2018年04月07日

Skripal case 8

RT2018/4/3
Unidentified: Porton Down scientists CANNOT confirm Novichok used on Skripals was made in Russia
UK scientists have been unable to prove Russia made the nerve agent A-234 (also known as "Novichok") which was used to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury.

Scientists at the top secret army base Porton Down are unable to link the samples to Russia, after weeks of Moscow insisting it had nothing to do with the attack. Theresa May’s Government has repeatedly blamed the Kremlin and imposed sanctions on Russia, including the expulsion of 23 diplomats.

Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down, told Sky News: "We were able to identify it as novichok, to identify that it was military-grade nerve agent.

"We have not identified the precise source, but we have provided the scientific info to government who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions you have come to."

The Skripals, ex-double agent Sergei and his 33-year-old daughter were found slumped on a park bench in Wiltshire on March 4.

Downing Street immediately pointed the finger at Russia and listed a raft of heavy sanctions, the toughest in three decades. European nations were persuaded by Britain to expel diplomats and were asked by allies in the UK to back them against Moscow.

Now, scientists say they are unsure of the links. Aitkenhead added: "It is our job to provide the scientific evidence of what this particular nerve agent is, we identified that it is from this particular family [Novichok] and that it is a military grade, but it is not our job to say where it was manufactured."

Aitkenhead said there is no known antidote to Novichok, and that none was administered to either of the Skripals. He suggested the substance required "extremely sophisticated methods to create, something only in the capabilities of a state actor".

The OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) said its executive council would meet in the morning in The Hague, on Russia's request.

Russia's Ambassador in London, Alexander Yakovenko has repeatedly stated Russia has been kept out of the loop.

Russia has asked for samples so it can do tests and has insisted it be allowed to investigate, after being blamed. However, the embassy is left to get information through the press in the UK, according to Yakovenko.

RT2018/4/4
‘London will have to apologize yet’ – Putin spokesman on UK lab's revelation in Skripal case
London will eventually have to apologize for its baseless accusations against Moscow in the Skripal poisoning case, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, after a UK military lab admitted it could not link the attack to Moscow.

"For us, the situation was appalling from the very beginning, and now, confirmation is gradually starting to come in that the insane accusations, made by the British side a few hours after the assassination attempt [on double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter], are baseless and groundless," Peskov told journalists Tuesday. He was speaking shortly after the Sky News interview in which the head of the Porton Down chemical lab admitted his scientists had found no confirmation the A-234 ("Novichok") chemical agent used in the poisoning came from Russia.

Peskov said he believes the allegations against Moscow will never be confirmed: "The British foreign minister [Boris Johnson], who accused President Putin, and the British Prime Minister [Theresa May], will have to somehow look in their European Union colleagues' eye, after what they had told them," Peskov said.

"Somehow, they will have to make apologies to the Russian side," he said. “But of course, it’s still a long way off, and this idiocy has gone too far.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, said he was looking forward to the upcoming emergency session of the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), hoping it will put the Skripal case to rest.

"We have prepared at least 20 questions for discussion. We hope that this discussion will put an end to this issue," Putin told journalists in Ankara, where he was holding a joint press conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in early March. British government authorities are claiming that a Russian-made military-grade nerve agent was involved, and that Moscow was behind the poisoning, while the Kremlin insists the entire case has been fabricated against it.

Russia has launched its own criminal investigation into the poisoning, since the victims hold Russian citizenship, and has been extending offers of assistance in the OPCW investigation. The UK has ignored the Russian offers, instead demanding that Moscow admits guilt. London has expelled 23 Russian diplomats, whom it claims were covert spies, and also convinced a number of allied countries to expel dozens more. Moscow responded with tit-for-tat expulsions.

RT2018/4/5
No 100% assurance toxin’s origin can be determined – ex-UN chemical weapons expert on Skripal case
While there could be no way to accurately determine the origin of the toxin used against Sergei Skripal, the OPCW's reluctance to address Russia's concerns about the probe undermines its credibility, a former UN inspector told RT.

The international chemical weapons watchdog will undermine its own credibility if it refuses to address Russia's concerns about the probe into the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Anton Utkin, a former UN chemical weapons inspector in Iraq, told RT.

Moscow's bid for a joint Russia-UK investigation into the Skripal case has been voted down at the extraordinary session of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on Wednesday, leaving Russia's concerns and questions about the Salisbury poisoning unanswered.

While Russia accused London of attempting to take advantage of the OPCW to support its own unsubstantiated claims, Dr. Anton Utkin, a former UN inspector in Iraq told RT that Wednesday's decision could undermine the only international mechanism designed to shield humanity from chemical weapons.

"If Russia asks the Executive Council to provide some sort of information, there is no way the OPCW can reject that request. So it is written strictly in the convention. If the OPCW starts to break the rules written in the convention, it will break the whole mechanism of protection of chemical weapons," Utkin told RT.

"It is very risky for the organization to break this rule, especially from the technical secretariat, which is supposed to stay out of any politics," he explained. "And a lot of countries do not like that the United Kingdom brought this political issue, pure political issue, to the walls of the organization."

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were discovered on a bench in Salisbury in early March showing signs of intoxication. Without a proper investigation being carried out, London rushed to accuse Russia of the attack, claiming that a Soviet-designed A-234 nerve agent of the Novichok family was used.

Moscow has denied the accusations and demanded that the British side rely on hard facts instead of empty rhetoric . However, London refused Russia any cooperation on the case, denying its consular staff access to Russian citizen Yulia Skripal and turning down the request for a sample of the toxic substance in question.

This week British government scientists from the Porton Dawn lab admitted they couldn't tell where the toxin came from, undermining a number of claims by the Foreign Office and UK's chief diplomat, Boris Johnson, who directly pointed the finger at Russia.

After Russia's proposal for a joint investigation was rejected, it has called for an emergency session of the UN Security Council on the Skripal poisoning case for Thursday, just days before the OPCW is expected to finalize its probe on the matter. The verdict is expected to be received by early next week, OPCW's chief Ahmet Uzumcu promised on Wednesday, but the content of the findings will only be released to Britain.

"The Secretariat will produce a report on the basis of these results and will transmit a copy of this report to the United Kingdom. The report will reflect the findings of the designated laboratories. Access of other States Parties to the report will be subject to the agreement of the United Kingdom," Uzumcu noted.

Dr. Utkin, however, is certain, that the OPCW probe, just like Porton Down's investigation, will not determine the origins of the chemical used on the Skripals. "They will say, in those samples, from those sites, we found those chemicals. Nothing else," he told RT.

"There is no 100 percent assurance that you can determine the origins of a chemical. Everything we know about a chemical comes from its composition. The chemical is never 100 percent pure, it takes some impurities...they come from production," the scientist explained. "But if you have two laboratories in different countries of the world that produce the same chemical with the same technology, with the same reagents, you have no chance of telling which sample came from which laboratory."

RT2018/4/5
Yulia Skripal describes ‘disorientating’ episode in UK
police statement
Salisbury poisoning victim Yulia Skripal has released a statement through police in London. Yulia has insisted she is on the road to recovery. She and her father Sergei were attacked with a nerve agent on March 4.

Yulia issued a statement on Thursday saying the "entire episode is somewhat disorientating".

"I woke up over a week ago now and am glad to say my strength is growing daily," the 33-year-old said in the statement issued on her behalf by London police.

“I am grateful for the interest in me and for the many messages of goodwill that I have received.

"I am sure you appreciate that the entire episode is somewhat disorientating, and I hope that you’ll respect my privacy and that of my family during the period of my convalescence."



Last week Yulia was reported to be in a stable condition after falling into a coma following the chemical attack. Moscow-based relative Viktoria Skripal told the Guardian that she had spoken to Yulia and that a statement would soon be released by Russian news agencies - “even in English.”

“She said everything is fine and she is doing OK,” Viktoria told the Guardian over the telephone. “That’s all I’m going to say.”

Viktoria also recorded the phone conversation with Yulia which was later played on a talk show on TV network Russia-1. Yulia can be heard telling her relative that she is calling from a phone that is “just temporary”. The 33-year-old also said that neither she nor her father had health problem that could not be fixed.

In the recording, Viktoria can be heard telling her cousin “If I get my visa tomorrow, on Monday I will fly to you”, to which Yulia responded, “nobody will give you a visa.”

At one point in the conversation, Yulia cut off Viktoria from going into depth about what happened, insisting “later, let's talk later. In short, everything is OK.”

When asked about her father Sergei Skripal, who is still understood to be in a critical condition, Yulia can be heard replying that “Everything’s OK. He’s resting now, he’s sleeping. Everyone’s health is OK. No one has had any irreversible [harm].

“I’m being discharged soon,” she added.

Yulia and her father Sergei Skripal were found slumped on a bench in Salisbury on March 4, after they were attacked with an A-234 nerve agent, similar to Novichok. Since the attack on the ex-Russian double agent and his daughter, the British government has placed the blame at Russia’s feet; a claim which Moscow has repeatedly denied.

On Wednesday, Porton Down chief executive Gary Aitkenhead revealed that the laboratory was unable to confirm the origin of the chemical agent used in the attack.

FARSNEWS2018/4/4
Public Demands Resignation of Boris Johnson Over Nerve Agent Gaffe
TEHRAN (FNA)- The revelations of top British military scientists threw the social media into an uproar as it became apparent that new statements cast doubt on earlier claims made by UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson regarding the alleged nerve gas attack in Salisbury.

Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down in England, told Sky News that while the scientists managed to identify the chemical used in the former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal poisoning case as a "military-grade nerve agent", they were unable to determine its "precise source", Sputnik reported.

About two weeks earlier, however, Johnson insisted during an interview with Deutsche Welle that Porton Down scientists were "absolutely categorical: when they allegedly assured him that "there’s no doubt" that the chemical came from Russia.

Many social media users were nonplussed by this development, voicing their concerns via Twitter and calling on Johnson to be held accountable.

Some also complained about the BBC apparently being reluctant to report on this issue. And others simply cracked jokes and quipped about Johnson’s predicament.

RT2018/4/5
'Theater of absurd': Russian envoy shows UK version of Skripal case 'falls apart'
Russia’s UN envoy described the UK’s attempt, without evidence, to pin the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter on Moscow as "theater of absurd", in his address updating the UNSC on the scandal.

The extraordinary meeting was requested by Moscow, following the announcement made by the secretive British Porton Down chemical laboratory, that it had not established that the nerve agent used to poison the Skripals was of Russian origin.

The top British officials explicitly cited the Porton Down laboratory when pinning the blame on Moscow, so following this revelation their theory started to fall apart, said Vasily Nebenzia, noting that the UK’s secret agencies rushed to help the government, producing new claims based on some “intelligence data.”

“I don’t even know how to comment on this. It’s some sort of the theater of absurd. You couldn't have come up with better fake story?” Nebenzia asked.

The diplomat asked a series of questions pointing to inconsistencies of the UK’s narrative.

“Why did we have to wait eight years and [then] decided to [attack the Skripals] two weeks before the elections and several weeks before the world cup? Why did we release him from the country in the first place? Why do that in extremely public and dangerous fashion,” Nebenzia wondered.

The fact that the victims of the nerve agent, which is believed to be among the deadliest, managed to survive the attack has also raised serious questions, Nebenzia said. It could be explained only if an antidote had been administered to them immediately after the exposure. British officials, however, insisted that no antidote was used, since none existed in the first place. The Skripals managed to walk around for four hours after the exposure, according to the version by the British authorities, yet the police officer who found them lost consciousness immediately.

There are also different versions of how the poison was delivered, leaked and speculated in the British media.

“There are so many versions in wake of the lack of facts and evidence. House of Skripal, the door knob, flowers, buckwheat, or, in fact, the bay leaf?” Nebenzia said.

As the cornerstone allegation that the nerve agent originated from Russia turned out to be without merit, the whole narrative fell apart, Nebenzia said. Arguments that the Novichok nerve agent family originates from Russia, and therefore it was Moscow to blame do not hold water either, the diplomat added.

“We want to state urbi et orbi, Novichok is not copyrighted by Russia,” he stressed.

While the British authorities try to make fun of different theories expressed by Russia-based experts and media, Nebenzia said, Moscow does not have any version of the events due to glaring lack of facts available.

The Russian diplomat stated that the level of intellectual justification used by the UK authorities, namely by the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, “does not invoke even a smile.”

“Boris Johnson, who constantly proclaims his Russophile [nature], produces an absurd, to use the nicest word I can, absurd and immoral premise that the incident was necessary for Moscow to bring the people together before the [presidential] elections,” Nebenzia stated.

“His comparison of Russia’s Football World Cup with the Berlin Olympics of 1936 was equally immoral,” he continued, adding that unlike the Soviet Union, a large British delegation took part in those Games.

UK envoy Karen Pierce stood by her government’s firm belief that there is “no plausible alternative explanation” and that that Russia was “highly likely” behind the Salisbury incident. She called it part of a “wider pattern of irresponsible Russian behavior” and accused Moscow of constant “aggression” over the recent years.

“Russia seeks to undermine the international institutions which have kept us safe since the end of the Second World War,” Pierce said.

The two envoys also resorted to literary references in sparring with each other, with Nebenzia illustrating the British position by quoting the Red Queen from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, who demanded "sentence first, verdict afterwards.”

Pierce retorted that another quote from the same book, about “believing six impossible things before breakfast,” suited her Russian colleague better, though it matched her own government's case built on assertions and rhetoric.

FARSNEWS2018/4/7
Report: Ex-Spy Sergei Skripal Regains Consciousness, Ability to Talk
TEHRAN (FNA)- After a Salisbury Hospital official confirmed Friday that Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal, who was poisoned in an alleged chemical attack in Southern England last month, was recovering, now, report said the former GRU Colonel is conscious and can speak.

The Sky News television channel presenter said that soon the police would be able to talk with a person at the center of the poisoning incident in Salisbury, adding that Skripal is no longer in critical condition, and is responding well to treatment, and that he is conscious and speaks.

Earlier, his daughter Yulia Skripal had regained consciousness and the ability to talk.

UK's police stated on April 5 on behalf of Yulia who said she "woke up over a week ago now" and is glad her strength is "growing daily."

The next day, Medical director at Salisbury District Hospital, stated that the former agent was responding well to treatment and was improving quickly.

The Russian Embassy in the United Kingdom welcomed news about the improvement in the health condition of Skripals.

RT2018/4/7
The Skripals are alive but the guinea pigs are dead – the strange case of the Salisbury poisoning
One afternoon in Salisbury has rocked relations between the UK and Russia. Ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were exposed to a nerve agent and London blamed Moscow.

What happened on March 4 has been at the center of a global press scrum, as literally everyone – including the Kremlin – tries to find out what happened.

But, the mystery just keeps getting more mysterious. The list of unanswered questions is growing longer by the day.

Let's start, perhaps, with how three people survived contamination by a "military-grade" nerve agent considered to be among the deadliest in the world? Here are some of the biggest mysteries.

Dead wrong

Initially we were all convinced the Skripals were going to die. After all, they were exposed to a "military-grade" nerve agent. Every paper in Britain said so. And Theresa May announced the substance’s name within days.

Images of Alexander Litvinenko were rolled out across mainstream media and headlines literally screamed POISON and DEADLY.

Others went to the lengths of actually killing the Skripals, like the Times, which carried the headline: "May set to hit back at Russia over spy death."

It was changed of course, when it emerged the pair were still alive. It only makes sense though – if Novichok was used, they'd be dead, right?

We were all frantically googling Novichok, talking to experts who said exposure to a 1mm drop is deadly.

"Nerve agents kill people with gruesome efficiency," the Business Insider said, while the FT reported: "Novichok is among the world's deadliest chemical weapons.”

The thing is, the Skripals said in a statement they're "fine" and a police officer was out of hospital within weeks.

So was it really the deadly nerve agent we're all now fearing? Or was such a small amount used that it wasn't effective? Considering the press says it was all over the door, the pub and a car – that seems unlikely. What a Novi-cock-up.

The paper wasn't the only one to make the error, with the Frontline Club also tweeting about its upcoming event: "Who killed Sergei Skripal?" to its 32,000 followers.

The tweet has since been deleted and the name amended to "Who attacked Sergei Skripal?"
A pint, a pizza & two guinea pigs

The Skripal story has changed so rapidly it's hard to keep up. The only constant being "Russia did it."

First, the poison was rumored to have been administered in the Zizzi restaurant – or was it the pub? Then the press claimed it was smeared on a door handle, at Sergei's wife's graveside, in a restaurant, and in a car (as well as on a copper) – we're all a bit baffled.

One of the deadliest nerve agents known to man was smothered all around Salisbury – and nobody died.

Not only did nobody die, the Skripals managed to get from home to town, out for food, a quick drink and a stroll in the park before they were found comatose.

A nerve agent considered to be one of the "most deadly" apparently took hours and hours to work. Not only that, the Skripals pet guinea pigs did die – along with their cat. From dehydration.
The cat was "distressed" and put down, the rodents – well the coppers forgot to give them water. A nerve agent which can be inhaled was smothered on their house and they died from lack of water.

Politicians press-cued

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson didn't hesitate to tell the media it was Russia. Porton Down – the top secret lab where the chemical was tested – told him there was "no doubt" Moscow did it, he said.

But then the chief executive of the lab said the chemical can't be sourced back to Russia. The Foreign Office deleted tweets, the government went a bit quiet and the finger-jabbing was all but paused.

Until the following day. Overnight the mainstream media had managed to speak with numerous unnamed "sources" who just knew it was Russia.

The Daily Mail spoke to one "source" who could reveal Russia had been practicing smearing Novichok on door handles. They couldn't say how they knew, or when it happened or provide any evidence – but the story went ahead.

The Times' source knew the exact lab where the Novichok was made – as does the government they said – but of course, they couldn't reveal the source.

Funny how when the government can't defend itself Whitehall springs a leak. Or 10.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 23:15| Comment(1) | 国際・政治
この記事へのコメント
今も件のロシアゲートの渦中にあるトランプは、最近の自身のツイッターでマラーとフェイクニュースへの批判と共にロシアのような大国と仲良くすることは正しく良いことなのだと語っている。以下にこれからの米国の対外政策について述べる。 

トランプは中東全域からアメリカの戦略的関与を終焉させる意志があることを先にクルド勢力の放棄を例に触れたが、オバマ政権まで30年以上積み上げた成果といえる東シリアからの早期撤退の意思も示している。(これには早速、ワシントン・ポストがオイルをイランに渡すのかと噛み付いている。)オハイオ州の中間選挙運動での鉄鋼労働者など支持者を前にした演説では、同時に朝鮮半島の32000人の米軍関与も嫌悪を込めて否定した。

米国内の産業・教育・社会インフラを蔑ろにしながら他国へ膨大なコスト(中東へ7兆ドル)を費やすことの愚かさを繰り返し訴えたが、その手始めとして朝鮮半島で米軍が国境管理を行っていることの無意味さを語っている。

彼は、5月の北朝鮮との首脳会談では朝鮮半島の非核化がテーマであることを既に明らかにしているが、それには北の核戦力放棄に対して米側が何をバーターとして提示できるかが焦点となる。当然のように米軍の撤退が俎上に載ることが予想されるが、そのためにトランプは国内インフラ投資と雇用創出に絡めて世論の地均しを始めている。

首脳会談のイニシアチブはトランプ側からであり、この問題に関して国務省の代替の役割を与えられている韓国政府を通じての北側からの提案は実質的にその返答であったことが判明しているから、それ以前から米軍ルートを通じて水面下での条件提案も行われていると見ている。

上の例にも示されているが、トランプの米対外戦略の転換は、常に「国務省の排除」を前提に行われてきており、ポンペオの長官就任も、CIAに引き続きこれら機関の妨害関与のブロックを役割としている。

だから、彼らの個人経歴や思想からネオコンに取り込まれていると短絡した結論を導くのは判断材料の不足がもたらす思考の欠落でしかなく、彼らに求められているのは大統領への忠実のみであり、ここでのイエスマンは例外的に肯定的意味を持つことになる。

トランプは政策決定に側近の判断を必要とはしていない。それ故に人事は変更しても、政策方針は就任前から一環している。(中東からの撤退も当初からの方針だと強調している。)

各方面からの干渉は避けられないから紆余曲折は予想されるが、5月の首脳会談が上記を理解するうえで最初の明瞭な機会となることが期待される。

トランプは、マーチン・ルーサー・キングJrの暗殺から50年となる4月4日に記念宣言を発表している。その中で、「自分達は共に愚者として滅ぶことなく、共に兄弟として生きるために学ばなければならない。」との文言があるが、敢えて暗殺日に宣言を表したことについて、ケネディー死後から初の独立大統領の立場にあることは理解しておいてよいだろう。

https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/president-donald-j-trump-proclaims-50th-anniversary-assassination-dr-martin-luther-king-jr/

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump

Posted by Driyos at 2018年04月06日 19:35
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