Sergei & Yulia Skripal — UK Scientists Unable to Pinpoint Origin of Novichok

“We understood from the very start that UK government statements on the nerve agent having been produced in Russia were a bluff. Now this has been confirmed by the head of the secret lab. This only proves that all political declarations on the Russian origin of the crime are nothing but assumptions not stemming from objective facts or the course of the investigation.”

Russian Embassy Spokesman in the UK

British scientists at the Porton Down defence research laboratory have not been able to establish the origin of  the nerve agent used to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today

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Gary Aitkenhead — the chief executive of the government’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) —  said the poison had been identified as a military-grade novichok nerve agent.

Aitkenhead made it very clear that it was not possible for scientists to say where the novichok agent had been created.

“It’s a military-grade nerve agent, which requires extremely sophisticated methods in order to create – something that’s probably only within the capabilities of a state actor.”

“We were able to identify it as novichok, to identify it was a military-grade nerve agent. We have not verified the precise source, but we have provided the scientific information to the government, who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions that they have come to.”

Flashback

Two weeks ago, Boris Johnson was asked by an interviewer on Deutsche Walle — Germany’s public international broadcaster — how the UK had been able to find out so quickly that the novichok nerve agent originated from Russia. Johnson replied:

“When I look at the evidence, the people from Porton Down, the laboratory, they were absolutely categorical.

I asked the guy myself, I said: ‘Are you sure?’

And he said: ‘There’s no doubt.’

So we have very little alternative but to take the action that we have taken.”

So, without a doubt, Boris Johnson lied. No question about that. Full Stop. But Boris Johnson managed to make things worse! The Foreign Office has now deleted a tweet — dated March 22 2018 — blaming Moscow for the attack.

The deleted tweet read:

“Analysis by world-leading experts at the Defence Science and Technology laboratory at Porton Down made clear that this was a military grade nerve agent produced in Russia”.

A UK foreign office spokesman is now suggesting that the tweet did not accurately reflect the words of their ambassador in Moscow. This statement is also false.

According to an official transcript of the speech, British ambassador Laurie Bristow’s original words were:

“The analysts at Porton Down, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory in the UK, established and made clear that this was a military-grade chemical weapon. One of the Novichok series; a nerve agent as I said produced in Russia.”

Jeremy Corbyn is accusing Boris Johnson of exaggerating the evidence against Russia.

“He claimed categorically – and I think he used the words 101 per cent – that it had come from Russia (… )

Boris Johnson seems to have completely exceeded the information that he had been given and told the world in categorical terms what he believed had happened.

And it’s not backed up by the evidence he claimed to have got from Porton Down in the first place. Boris Johnson needs to answer some questions.”

Bad Feeling

Let me add that I have a really bad feeling about this development. The last time a scientist from Porton Down told the truth to a journalist, it did not end very well for him. Dr David Kelly soon met an extremely suspicious death. Let us hope that nothing of the sort will happen to Dr. Gary Aitkenhead.

Meanwhile, Russia has requested an emergency meeting of the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons.

“Among other things, it wants to know what kind of evidence the UK has provided to the OPCW, which inspectors visited the site of the attack in Salisbury, who they met and where the samples are being analysed.” [BBC]

Yulia Skripal, 33, is now conscious but her father, 66, remained critically ill.

Russia: Skripal was of ‘zero value’ to Moscow – Peskov

Russia had no reason to poison the former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, who was “of zero value, of zero importance” for the country, stated Russian Presidential Press Secretary Dmitri Peskov in an exclusive interview for RT’s SophieCo show on Wednesday.

REFERENCES

Porton Down experts unable to verify precise source of novichok — Guardian

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Sergei & Yulia Skripal — UK Scientists Unable to Pinpoint Origin of Novichok

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