Skripal case 9: ずくなしの冷や水


Skripal case 9

'Skripal case plays amazingly into Britain’s campaign to isolate Russia'

RT: The Russian Ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzia described the UK allegations as a "theater of the absurd." Is that an accurate description?

Dan Glazebrook: Absolutely. There have been three pillars of the UK case and they are crumbling away one by one. The basic three pillars are: first, this pseudo-scientific argument that this is Novichok, this chemical that no one ever heard of until three weeks ago, this nerve agent, and it is only Russia that is capable of producing it and using it. And the second [has] to do with this idea that Russia has form and the motive. But the first case is really crumbling away now that the head of Porton Down has come out and admitted, “We can’t verify that this is Russian-manufactured.” Two very important facts are totally obscured and neglected in the mainstream media. One is that in September 2017, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) actually verified the destruction of Russia’s entire chemical weapons program. The US and the UK have never put forward any reasons as to why they doubt the OPCW’s verification here or any evidence that Russia still is producing Novichok. But that is a very important piece of information that is never picked up on. And secondly, the Russian chemist who revealed the existence of Novichok published a book with his formula in 2008, saying that it could actually be made with fairly simple bits and pieces you get in pesticides and fertilizers. Far from the idea that Russia is the only power capable of producing this stuff, it turns out that actually anyone with access to a decent lab and could produce this stuff. So, that holds that pseudo-scientific argument that it could be only Russia completely crumbled away.

First of all, we have to start with the premise that in recent months, Russia has been blamed for everything from the kneeling scandal in the NFL to the Charlottesville protests. Russia seems to be the first country that is blamed for anything. That makes me very skeptical when people rush to judgment against Russia, especially the US, which Russia seems to be the punching bag for… right now, but frankly, for many decades. There is no evidence Russia was behind this and frankly, the motive doesn’t appear to be there. Why would Russia wait for 8 years to go after this spy and his daughter? […] This smells like a set-up of Russia, and people have to be skeptical of what is happening. – Dan Kovalik, human and labor rights lawyer, author of The Plot to Scapegoat Russia: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Putin

RT: Vasily Nebenzia also said on a practical level it would make no sense to carry out such an attack before the Russian election and the World Cup. Is it fair to say the UK has failed to come up with a convincing motive?

DG: Exactly. With the crumbling away of this pseudo-scientific part of the argument, Boris Johnson [and others] are left really revealed that actually they don’t have evidence as such but Russia has the form and has the motive. This is now basically the case that the UK is making. If we look at form, Boris Johnson really needs to learn a bit of his own history before he starts accusing Russia of form in this regard. Not only has Britain invaded 90 percent of the world’s countries, not only has Britain committed active genocide on most of the world’s continents, but actually we know from a report by the Independent newspaper two years ago the extent of the British state’s testing of chemical and biological warfare on its own population is much bigger than anyone ever realized. Over 750 experiments carried out on unsuspecting, non-volunteers, members of the population in coastal towns in Britain, on the Tube, or London Underground, having chemical or biological agents released on them during the Cold War from the ‘40s to the ‘50s. And including testing sarin nerve gas on British soldiers right up until the 1980s. So, if we are going to talk about form, Mr. Johnson, Britain has form on using nerve agents against British citizens on British soil. So, then it is reduced down to ‘motive’… I get the idea that you want to send a message to the so-called traitors, that Putin wants a spat with the West in advance of the election. I understand that. But what about what Britain has gained of all of this? Britain has got 28 countries to expel Russian diplomats. Hasn’t Britain been trying to wage this campaign of isolation against Russia for years now? Hasn’t this amazingly played into this campaign? If we are going to reduce everything to “which country’s got the form and the motive,” then Britain is on a very shaky grounds accusing Russia. And that is why it is so important to have evidence rather than just talking about motives.

OPCW inspection in Russia amid Moscow’s calls for transparency in Skripal case
As Moscow urges full transparency in the case of Sergei Skripal's poisoning, experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have paid a visit to Russia.

Inspectors arrived to monitor compliance with the organization's rules last week. The checks were reported by the Russian Defense Ministry's newspaper, Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star), on Friday. The report, however, didn't elaborate on what exactly the OPCW inspectors were looking at, or where.

The news comes as Russia finds itself at the center of the blame game over the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia. They were discovered in a critical condition in Salisbury, affected by what the British government claims is a Russian-made nerve agent. The UK authorities swiftly accused the Russian state – an allegation which Moscow has repeatedly denied, while calling for a transparent joint investigation. Moscow's suggestions were rebuffed by London as "perverse" and a "diversionary tactic."

Earlier this week, scientists at the Porton Down chemical weapons lab near Salisbury said they were unable to trace the nerve agent used on the Skripals back to Russia. Shortly afterwards, the UK Foreign Office issued a statement that London stands by its "assessment" of Russia's guilt.

On Wednesday, Russia's proposal for a new, joint probe into the Skripal case was voted down by 15 members of the OPCW governing body in The Hague, with six supporting Russia and 17 abstaining. After the initiative failed, Russian Ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko called on Britain to make public all material relevant to the investigation. He said that while Moscow has no evidence of the UK government's role in the case, London's refusal to cooperate and its campaign to blame Moscow leave Russia wondering about its motives.

Russia then called a UN Security Council session, where its envoy pointed out inconsistencies in the official UK narrative of the Skripal case, and reiterated Moscow's stance that the use of chemical weapons by anyone anywhere is "inadmissible and must be investigated and punished."

The accusations against Moscow have already resulted in the expulsion of over 100 Russian diplomats from a number of EU countries and their allies. The Russians were accused of being “undeclared intelligence officers.” The UK led the way with 23 expulsions, and the US sent home 60 and closed down the Russian consulate in Seattle. Most of the other participants expelled one to four people.

Moscow responded in kind, including the closure of the US consulate in St. Petersburg and the expulsion of 60 US diplomats. In addition to booting out 23 British diplomats, it gave London a month to cut its diplomatic presence in the country to the same number of Russian diplomatic staff in Britain.

‘They decided who to blame beforehand’: Ex-Pakistani intel chief on Skripal case
The former director general of Pakistan’s Military Intelligence has offered a comprehensive dismissal of the UK’s claim that Russia was behind the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal.

In an interview with RT, Asad Durrani explained that, in the Skripal poisoning case, the authorities had already settled on who to blame for the attack before investigators had completed a formal probe, or had even started taking names.

According to the three-star general, there can only be two reasons for this. “That means either you are quite sure who to blame or you have already decided before you launched that operation, call it a false flag operation, as to who is going to be blamed,” he said.

Durrani outlined another key fact about the Skripal case that significantly undermines the view that Russia was involved in the poisoning: it’s very easy to kill someone with a nerve agent, if you actually want to carry out an assassination, so the Skripals’ survival raises more questions.

“If it was an operation to be launched by Russia, it could have been very effective. Killing people with that poison, or with this type of toxin is not very difficult, but they both survived,” he said.

“That means someone was clearly ensuring that ‘look, we must make it look like a toxic attack but we don’t want to lose these people’. So this is yet another question mark.”

Durrani, who is also a former chief of the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence, said that all these questions hanging over the case have undermined the UK’s claims of Russian involvement, to such an extent that their allies were quick to lose faith in the narrative. “In this particular case the credibility of the whole process, since it is lacking, I do not think they have been able to convince even their own allies for very long that this is a genuine operation launched by Moscow,” he said.

If CIA relocates Skripals in the US 'we may not see them again' – Russia's UN envoy
Media reports that the US is ready to shelter the Skripals under new identities point to the CIA's role in the poisoning saga and mean they may now vanish for good, without providing key evidence, the Russian envoy to the UN said.

Vassily Nebenzia, Russia's UN envoy, was commenting on the report by The Sunday Times that intelligence officials at MI6 have been discussing, with their American colleagues at the CIA, a potential resettlement of former Russian-UK double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who are now recovering from a poison attack that British authorities have blamed on Russia. The relocation scheme would include, according to a senior Whitehall source cited by The Times, both father and daughter being provided with new identities.

The US is reportedly one of four countries that are being considered by the British authorities as a future safe haven for the Skripals, the others being Canada, Australia and New Zealand. However, according to an intelligence source cited by the paper, the US seems like "the obvious place" to choose "because they're less likely to be killed there and it's easier to protect them there under a new identity."

Speaking at the UN Security Council meeting on Monday, Nebenzia said that the reported involvement of the CIA in the case "itself speaks volumes."

"However, this also means that we possibly perhaps will never see these people, [who are] key witnesses of what took place," he added.

The Russian embassy in the UK also commented on the reports. It said that, in the case of "such a secret relocation," the Skripals' version of what happened in Salisbury would likely never be heard. If, as a result, they would be cut off from the outside world, Russia "will have grounds to consider this situation as an abduction of two Russian citizens, or at least as their isolation," the embassy's spokesperson told Sputnik.

A recent report by the Mail on Sunday, that the Skripals' house at Christie Miller Road in Salisbury will likely be razed to ground, and the Mill public house and the Zizzi restaurant may also be demolished, is another warning sign, the spokesman said. "Such steps prove that the United Kingdom has started pursuing a policy of destroying important evidence," he said.

"We have seen the same in the case of Sergei Skripal's pets, with a bench in the park, where Sergei and Yulia Skripal have been found, and so on," he noted.

The British authorities confirmed last week that the Skripals' two guinea pigs had died, reportedly from dehydration, and a cat was put down after it was found "distressed" by a vet brought to the house by officials. Moscow previously disputed the UK's version of events, arguing that the analyses of the pets' condition might have provided a valuable insight into the agent allegedly used to poison the Skripals.

"We have an impression that the UK government makes intentional attempts to destroy all possible evidence, to classify all the existing materials and to remove the possibility to hold an independent and transparent investigation," the embassy spokesperson said.

The embassy also dismissed as "very unpersuasive," reports of a string of mysterious messages allegedly intercepted by the UK's Royal Air Force (RAF) based in Cyprus, with one of the messages saying "the package has been delivered." The information on the message, which is presumably highly classified, was provided to the Sunday Express by anonymous "insiders." The message, which is said to have been delivered from Syria, was allegedly intercepted on March 4, and later linked to the Skripal case for no obvious reason. However, it then became one of the main arguing points used by the UK to persuade more than a dozen countries in Europe to expel Russian diplomats.

"The reports that the Cyprus-based RAF analysts intercepted certain messages on March 3 and March 4 look very unpersuasive. So do the attempts to link these messages with the Skripal case,” the embassy said, adding that the fact that it was used to prompt the UK's allies to follow suit in expelling Russian diplomats proves that the UK's entire case against Russia is "based only on assumptions."

Russian Embassy in UK: London Destroying Evidence Related to 'Ex-Spy Case'
TEHRAN (FNA)- Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia, during an emergency Security Council meeting on Monday, said that the fake news about a chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma aims to distract the world from the fabricated former agent Sergei Skripal case and build an anti-Russia alliance.

"The fake news on Saturday from Douma is geared toward drawing the attention of society away from the Skripal case, which was muddled up by London, and throwing on Russia completely unconfirmed accusations with the aim of pulling solidarity to build an anti-Russian alliance," Nebenzia said, Sputnik reported.

Several opposition online news portals reported on Saturday, citing Syrian militants, that the country's Army had used chlorine in Douma.

The "chemical attack" killed up to 70 people and injured hundreds of others, according to media reports.

In turn, Syria’s SANA news agency reported citing Syrian officials that these allegations were merely a provocation by Jaish al-Islam group and other militants to hinder the advance of the Syrian government’s Army.

The Russian reconciliation center for Syria on Sunday categorically refuted media reports about the Syrian armed forces having dropped a chlorine-filled bomb on Douma.

The center's representatives have visited the place of the alleged chemical attack and questioned local doctors, who said that they had not received individuals with symptoms of chemical poisoning.

Moreover, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that such information aimed to make legit cover for terrorists and justify possible external military intervention in Syria.

Meanwhile, the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) involvement in the Skripal poisoning case has become obvious after reports emerged that the US spy agency offered shelter to the two victims in the incident, meaning that Russian officials may never see them again, Nebenzia said.

UK media reported on Sunday that the United States could provide the Skripals with new identities in order to protect them from new potential attacks.

Apart from the United States the representatives of the two intelligence services have discussed Australia, Canada and New Zealand as potential destination for relocation of the Skripals under new names, according to media reports.

"According to reports from newspapers, we learned that the CIA proposed to shelter the Skripals in the US and to give them new names," Nebenzia told the UN Security Council during an emergency meeting on Syria on Monday, adding that "The participation of the CIA here in itself speaks volumes. However, this also means that we possibly perhaps will never see these people, [who are] key witnesses of what took place."

In addition, the Russian Embassy in the United Kingdom has sent an official note to the UK Foreign Office asking to confirm or to refute new details of the "Skripal case" previously reported by media, a Spokesperson of the Embassy told Sputnik.

"This is yet another example of potentially important information spread by media, when the Russian side still had not received any information from UK authorities through official channels. Today the Embassy has sent yet another note to the UK Foreign Office asking either to confirm or to refute the abovementioned reports," the Spokesperson stated Monday.

Moreover, the Spokesperson of the Russian Embassy stressed that the alleged relocation of Skripal and his daughter Yulia to a third country would become a violation of international law.

"Such relocation could become yet another blatant violation of international law. After the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, the United Kingdom does not meet its commitments under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the bilateral consular convention," the Spokesperson said Monday citing the UK refusal to provide the Russian side with access to the poisoned compatriots and refusal to grant a UK visa to Viktoria Skripal − the niece of a poisoned ex-spy.

"If such a secret relocation of Sergei and Yulia Skripal takes place, the possibility to listen to their version of the March 4 events highly likely will be lost. If the world is deprived of the opportunity to communicate with them, it will have grounds to consider this situation as an abduction of two Russian citizens, or at least as their isolation," the diplomat added.

Moreover, the Spokesperson noted that the Russian Embassy had taken into account the UK media reports that said that Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with the nerve agent spread on the door of Skripal's house and the information about the presence of medics, who had been trained to provide assistance to people affected by chemical weapons, in the hospital, where the Skripals had been sent to after the poisoning.

Meanwhile, the information of the UK-based media outlets about a suspicious message allegedly intercepted by the analysts of the Royal Air Force (RAF) soon after the poisoning of Skripal looks unpersuasive, a Spokesperson told Sputnik.

UK media reported on Monday that the RAF analysts in Southern Cyprus allegedly intercepted messages sent from Syria to "an official" in Moscow after Skripal and his daughter were found unconscious in the UK city of Salisbury.

The message said "the package has been delivered", according to media.

"The reports that the Cyprus-based RAF analysts intercepted certain messages on March 3 and March 4 look very unpersuasive. So do the attempts to link these messages with the 'Skripal Case.' The fact that as it has been stated, the intercepted information, along with other sources, has been used by the UK side to persuade its allies to expel the Russian diplomats again shows that the UK position is based only on assumptions," the Spokesperson stressed Monday.

The diplomat added that the Embassy had already sent an official request to confirm or to refute the reports.

In addition, The Spokesperson of the Russian Embassy to the UK believes that the reports about future demolition of the buildings are proving the fact that the United Kingdom is implementing a policy of destruction of evidence.

Media reported on Monday that the house of former Russian intelligence in the UK town of Salisbury, as well as the Mill pub and Zizzi restaurant, attended by the ex-spy and his daughter before the poisoning, would be demolished.

"Such steps prove that the United Kingdom has started pursuing a policy of destroying important evidence. We have seen the same in the case with Sergei Skripal's pets, with a bench in the park, where Sergei and Yulia Skripal have been found and so on," the Spokesperson stressed Monday.

The United Kingdom has not provided any information to the Russian side on the investigation and does not cooperate with the Russian investigators on the issue, according to the official.

The diplomat noted that on March 12, UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson have brought charges against Russia, however no evidence has been provided so far.

"We have an impression that the UK government makes intentional attempts to destroy all possible evidence, to classify all the existing materials and to remove the possibility to hold an independent and transparent investigation. Such policy could only undermine the country's authority and to harm its image. We demand a clear and public explanation of this position," the Spokesperson said.

Skripal, the former Russian military intelligence Colonel who was recruited by British intelligence, and his daughter were found unconscious on March 4 at a shopping center in Salisbury, England.

The UK authorities have accused Russia of orchestrating an attack on the Skripals with a Soviet-era A234 nerve agent.

In turn, the British government and its Western allies have accused Russia of being involved in a nerve agent attack on Skripal.

Russia has denied having any role in the Skripal case and requested a joint investigation as per international law and samples of the substance used to poison the Skripals, but was rejected.

Russia has also pointed out that the United Kingdom has not offered evidence to substantiate its groundless claims.
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