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It is time to look at the evidence a second time, and then a third, fourth and a fifth.

A large and important slice of the world’s governments—led by the British—have inflicted severe diplomatic damage on the Russians because of the British allegation that Moscow attempted to murder a Russian double agent and his daughter on British soil with the nerve agent Novichok.

The Conservative government of Theresa May is utterly convinced that Putin’s Moscow is behind the attack. It persuaded 24 other countries – and NATO headquarters—of the veracity of their case to the extent that they have all joined in expelling Russian diplomats.

But they have failed to persuade Opposition Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn or Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbot. The Socialist duo recently leaped on a slip by error-prone Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to revive the reasonable doubt alternative.

The slip involves the investigations by Britain’s Porton Down Chemical Weapons Establishment which identified the nerve agent used against Sergei and Yulia Skripal. The chief executive of Porton Down, Gary Aitkenhead, told Sky News: “We have not verified the precise source” of the nerve agent.  This contradicts Boris Johnson’s interview with a German journalist in which he said that Porton Down had unequivocally identified the source as Russian.

IF (and it is an extremely big IF) the Russians are innocent, then British credibility will nosedive. Putin will be king of the roost.  Boris Johnson would almost certainly resign. Mrs. May’s weak government would be dealt a severe blow halfway through Brexit negotiations and 24 other countries will have diplomatic egg on their faces because they trusted her.

But all is not lost for the Brits. The Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is conducting its own investigation which it is hoped will back British claims. In the meantime, The Russians have convened a meeting of the UN Security Council to protest their innocence and probably repeat their claims that the Salisbury attack was “a grotesque provocation rudely staged by British and American intelligence.

Russian cries of foul; another slip-up by banana skin Boris and the Labour Party’s willingness to put its head on the chopping block warrant the re-examination of the evidence,  starting with the question of detectives through the ages: Did the Russians have the means, opportunity, and motive? Unfortunately, the answer for Putin and his supporters is a resounding yes.

Novichok was produced by the Soviet Union between 1971-1993. There are several levels of weapon grade Novichok. They are called Novichok, 5,7,8, and 9. It was grade nine—the powdered variety—that was used against Sergei Skripal and his daughter. Russia denies that the Soviet Union ever developed the nerve agent. This is a lie. Several Russian chemists have blown the whistle on Moscow

Now, how about opportunity? According to Russian chemists, Novichok was developed to be the deadliest chemical weapon and the safest to handle. This means that it could have been removed from the production facility at Shikhany,  placed in a suitcase and safely flown Moscow to Salisbury.

Next, we look at motive. Sergei Skripal was a Russian traitor who went to prison and was provided with a new life in Britain after being exchanged for Russian spies held by the US.  Putin has said: “Traitors will kick the bucket, trust me. These people betrayed their friends and brothers in arms. Whatever they got in exchange for it, those 30 pieces of silver they were given, they will choke on them.”

British intelligence is currently investigating the deaths of another 14 Russian dissidents in the UK. It has been conclusively proven that Russian agents used deadly polonium to murder Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko in London. Putin denies this. He also denies meddling in the US presidential elections, green men in Ukraine, cyberattacks on the Baltic States, shooting down the Malaysian airliner and bombing aid convoys in Syria.

Is Putin following the example of Adolf Hitler, who said: “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”


Tom Arms is editor of



4 Comments on "Russian Spy Evidence Again and Again and…"

  1. The problem for the UK government is that their handling of this has come across as fishier than Yo! Sushi’s bins on collection day. I saw Hamish De Bretton Gordons article the other day, saying that the government has to release more details of why they believe Russia was responsible or lose the propaganda war, I would agree with that completely. There are more questions than answers at the moment. and Johnson ought to be sacked for his part in what is becoming a fiasco.

  2. Peter Kennedy | 6th April 2018 at 10:15 am | Reply

    One thing bothers me about all this. As I have zero experience of nerve agents I went and talked to someone who does, and he assured me that it only takes a fraction of a gramme in contact with the skin to kill someone in seconds, and it’s a horrible way to die.

    So, having been in contact with Novichok, why are these two people still alive?

  3. Geoff Jacobs | 6th April 2018 at 2:33 pm | Reply

    The fact that both Corbyn and Abbot refuse to accept Russia’s guilt in this matter comes as no surprise. Abbot is on record as stating that the anti-Semitism gripping the Labour Party is a fabrication despite her leader saying the exact opposite so what credence can be put on anything she says?

    As for Rob Walkers statement that the government has to provide more details of why it believes that Russia was responsible, this is impossible. Most of the evidence is raw intelligence and to release that into the public domain will enable the Russians to find out how we know what we know. It is perhaps rather telling that the government has refused to tell Corbyn anything beyond that which he is entitled to as a member of the Privy Council.

    The answer to final question is yes. Putin is following the example of Hitler even to the extent of warning Latvia not to make Latvian compulsory in schools for all pupils over 16 (I believe) as this will affect the 2 million odd Russians living in the country. Didn’t Hitler use the alleged persecution of ethnic Germans as his excuse to invade Czechoslovakia?

  4. Now the FO have scored another own goal by denying Viktoria Skripal a visa, it will only fuel speculation that they are hiding something. Surely it could not have hurt to have given a visa and allowed a supervised visit which was fully recorded and transcribed. The announcement that Sergie Skripal is recovering comes only after it was already revealed on Russian TV by Viktoria Skripals phone call to Yulia and gives the impression that this has forced the British hand. If the British government wants to douse some of the fires being lit around it by the Russians they could do so by being more transparent on issues which have no negative repercussions with regard to intelligence sources.

    For instance, what have they to say about the reasons for the Skripal’s recovery only days after the Prime Minister was saying that they wouldn’t improve in the short term and may never recover. Why was the policeman sent to their house taken ill almost immediately while it took the Skripal’s four hours to succumb?. Given the policeman was taken ill almost immediately, why did he recover at a far faster rate?. Why did such a supposedly deadly substance not kill anybody who came in contact with it?. The answers to these questions would compromise nobody, yet they are questions I see being asked regularly. While I can understand the reluctance to allow a Russian consular visit, surely an arrangement could be made with a third party such as the international Red Cross, the Swiss embassy or similar for a third party visit to confirm the condition and wellbeing of the Skripal’s. Instead we have a vacuum that Russia is happy to fill with propaganda and doubt.

    The “jeopardising our sources” argument is a tried and tested one that can of course be true but can also be used when there is nothing further to reveal. I would suggest that given the track record of the British government, putting absolute faith in their pronouncements without any evidence is unwise.

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