On 16 Mar 2018, at 09:08, Adrian Midgley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


I suspect Russia, and that this is another public assassination in the vein of the Bulgarian umbrella (chemical agent, not nerve poison) and Polonium, but proper process is important.

Patton was a smart general.

The (class of) agent is publicly reported as stupidly potent, and there have been descriptions of binary munitions for nerve agents - precursors mixed after firing, and the agent only formed while going away supersonically which I think would be very encouraging to artillerymen and anyone under the trajectory.

1. Yes
2.  See above.  Not difficult to provide a delivery system which killed the delivered, target, and all the shoppers in the street, however employee retention is an issue.  Harder to design a system which kills the target a while later, not the deliverer and not a wildly indiscriminate surrounding population.  Easy in doing so to get a sub-promptly-lethal effect, and possibly this makes for more effect.
This is in line with the Makarov Ricination, and the Polonium case.

5.  This government is too lazy to look up the law or existing arrangements, and cares little for them.  But a good point.

On Fri, 16 Mar 2018, 01:27 Julian Bradley, <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Salisbury, Sergei Skirpal and Nerve agents.

In the main this is just for the record because whatever the truth it's hard to see how this post could possibly change anything - but I'm retired and have the time.

WW2 General George Patton said: If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking and it seems from the media and parliament that only one point of view is considered sane.

Of course there may be information not yet in the public domain to support the conclusions some rushed to about this event, or there may have been a good guess that will be substantiated, but it "smells" and some information and older speculation are worth considering.

There is no ONE chemical called novichok.  There are supposed to have been many novel nerve agents that were being tested under this general category.  A description of this, and the role that a site in Uzbekistan might have played can be found on Wikipedia, and in a variety of books published over the last 20-30 years.  Louise Hidalgo did a report August 9, 1999 "US dismantles chemical weapons" published at BBC News Online "One of the key manufacturing sites was a chemical research institute in what is now Uzbekistan, and small, experimental batches of the weapons may have been tested on the nearby Ustyurt plateau."

The knowledge that such agents exist, and a chemical formula which is in the public domain, could have given any country capable of producing chemical weapons enough information in that time to create an agent in this group.
There is also a discussion in:
Ian Greaves FRCP, FCEM, FIMC, RCS(Ed), DTM&H, DMCC, DipMedEd, RAMC, Paul Hunt MBBS, DipIMC(RCSEd), MCEM, MRCSEd, DMCC, RAMC, in Responding to Terrorism, 2010

We know that as the Soviet Union broke up security was far from guaranteed - both chemicals and information may have found their way to a number of places.

There is, for example, the alleged smuggling of chemical weapons by Lt Gen. Anatoly Kuntsevich in the early 1990s.   One site says he was dismissed and charged with helping smuggle nerve agent precursors to Syria, another site repeats the smuggling assertion but suggests that he died, possibly at the hands of Mossad, on a plane journey.  It's been suggested that this was the basis of the Syrian VX program,but could information on the newer nerve agents also have been smuggled?



Have we identified the agent because we have the exact chemical details of the Novichoks the USSR researched and manufactured?
Are we sure no-one else had that information?
If not how do we know this is a post Soviet Russian Novichok rather than something developed elsewhere?


If it's so deadly why is Skirpal still alive?  A state applying its resources to this with a program of testing would surely have been able to guarantee the outcome.


Why has the UK been using the term "Military Grade" and what does it mean?  Something can be military spec if you know the specification - usually the cheapest that will do the particular job adequately.  Other than that the term is found in advertising and propaganda.  What would a civilian grade novel nerve agent look like???


When considering motive who might have the motive to kill Skirpal is of course one approach but another is to ask who might want to increase the tension between the UK or NATO and Russia.  Skirpal could easily and quietly have been killed in Russia.  Why exchange him, leave him several years and then kill him?

Amongst states with potential motives North Korea and Iran immediately come to mind.  Both have advanced scientific facilities.  North Korea is the ONLY state known to have used a nerve agent internationally ever and while they killed their target it seems to have been done in a very amateurish way using intermediaries.  It's not clear why neither the politicians nor the media have mentioned this when considering "patterns of behaviour".  In any case we know that North Korea clearly has nerve agents while Iran is believed to have conducted research on nerve agents and will likely have anything that Kuntsevich or others ever passed to Syria. 


Finally given it's suspicions why did the government not follow the procedures that seem to be laid out in the Chemical Weapons Convention.  From:

Article IX. Consultations, Cooperation and Fact-Finding

1. States Parties shall consult and cooperate, directly among themselves, or through the Organization or other appropriate international procedures, including procedures within the framework of the United Nations and in accordance with its Charter, on any matter which may be raised relating to the object and purpose, or the implementation of the provisions, of this Convention.

A State Party which receives a request from another State Party for clarification of any matter which the requesting State Party believes causes such a doubt or concern shall provide the requesting State Party as soon as possible, but in any case not later than 10 days after the request, with information sufficient to answer the doubt or concern raised along with an explanation of how the information provided resolves the matter.


Russia as a state may be responsible for what has happened and if so they must be held accountable but it's hard to see that any jury should convict based on the evidence so far in the public domain.  Anti-Russian hysteria would not seem to be in Britain's interests - the world is full of less than perfect countries some of whom we even count as allies and we run a trade surplus with Russia!

As with any crime it's important that we find the actual perpetrator, rather than look for evidence to support our preferred idea.
In that context pre-trial disclosure has been shown to be fundamental to obtaining justice.  How much more important when not just the imprisonment of one man, but the lives of millions are at stake?

Finally whatever the rights and wrongs of Brexit if this is used as the basis for saying we should change our position I for one will find the smell overpowering.

As mentioned... just for the record.


A Midgley

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