Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Britain Has Given Russia Until Midnight To Explain How A Nerve Agent Developed By The Soviet Union Was Used Against A Former Russian Spy In Britain Last Week



Reuters: Britain gives Putin until midnight to explain nerve attack on former spy Sergei Skripal

LONDON, March 13 (Reuters) - Britain gave President Vladimir Putin until midnight on Tuesday to explain how a nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union was used to strike down a former Russian double agent who passed secrets to British intelligence.

Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, have been in hospital in a critical condition since March 4 when they were found unconscious on a bench outside a shopping center in the English cathedral city of Salisbury.

Prime Minister Theresa May said it was "highly likely" that Russia was to blame after Britain identified the substance as part of the highly-lethal Novichok group of nerve agents developed by the Soviet military in the 1970s and 1980s.

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More News On Britain Giving Russia Until Midnight To Explain How A Nerve Agent Developed By The Soviet Union Was Used Against A Former Russian Spy In Britain Last Week

The Latest: Trump, May agree on consequences for poison use -- AP
May gets EU support, cautious backing from Trump, in showdown with Russia -- Reuters
Britain's May Wins Backing of Trump, EU Leaders in Showdown With Russia -- US News and World Report
Britain Gives Russia 'Until Midnight' To Explain Use Of Nerve Gas -- NPR
‘Say something’: May 'under incredible pressure’ from colleagues to blame Russia in ex-spy poisoning -- RT
Nerve agent novichok five to eight times more deadly than VX gas -- The Australian
British media watchdog says Russia’s RT may lose license over Skripal incident -- TASS
UK Has Weapons to Use Against Russia, All With Drawbacks -- New York Times
Russian spy attack: Why Britain and why now? -- CNN
Putin 'wants everyone to know it's him' with brazen nerve agent attack in the UK, experts say -- Alex Lockie, Business Insider
London says the Russians used a nerve agent on British soil. How should Britain respond? -- Washington Post

10 comments:

fred lapides said...

The UK Has Determined That The Chemical Agent Used In The Attack Was Novichok

Today Prime Minister Teresa May announced to lawmakers today that investigators have determined that the Skripals and Bailey were attacked with Novichok, a chemical agent developed by the Soviet Union.

The chemical was produced by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s, and, at the time, was believed to be far more lethal than anything in the United States arsenal.


After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Vil Mirzayanov, a chemist who helped develop the agent, said that Soviet laboratories had developed enough of the substance to kill several hundred thousand people.


Dispersed in a powder, Novichok agents blocked the breakdown of a neurotransmitter controlling muscular contractions, leading to respiratory and cardiac arrest, Mr. Mirzayanov told investigators at the time.

B.Poster said...

Fred,

Are we supposed to be impressed by this bit of analysis. if this the British analysis, a 7th grade boy who is to stupid to know he is stupid could have formulated this. Apparently some are so desperate to further foment a new cold war they will try just about anything.

Okay its great that we know that "Novichok" was used or do we? The British did join the Americans in the hurried conclusion that the Syrian government used chemical weapons to justify the attack on the Russian air base awhile back. There's no way they could have possibly figured this out definitively in such a short time. Furthermore looking at motive and opportunity the most likely culprits were the rebels or the whole thing was staged. A number of people discussed this at the time.

Maybe they were right but they demonstrated themselves to be impulsive souls. This threw up a number of "red flags." Previously we had the failings of Iraq. The British jumped into this one with both feet when there were a number of warning signs at the time. I remember how viciously Tony Blair was attacked by the media at this time. He was GW Bush's "poodle" and worse. Now the same people who acted so rudely towards a British leader are telling us the same people they attacked are now the picture of circumspection whom we should just blindly trust. The British must think that these people think they are extremely stupid!!

We know who initially developed it and when. This is fabulous!! Again the seventh grade boy thinks he is really, really smart!! Dating from the 70s and 80s we know or reasonably should know this is old technology. As such, anyone with a rudimentary knowledge based upon what would be known today should be able to develop this. The British? Unscrupulous Americans? A chump former Soviet Bloc country wishing to draw us into their fight? A chump former Soviet country had some left over from when the Soviet Union fell and wishes to draw us deeper into their fight. (I'm thinking Ukraine.)

Anonymous said...

It was deployed by US spys to strain British - Russian relations. If im not mistaken there was talk about closer ties between the two leading up to this. Something the USA would see as a threat to their security.

B.Poster said...

There are a number of possibilities here that need to be properly explored. Obviously the Russians cannot respond by midnight. They have rightly requested that samples be sent to them for analysis. If we do so, we might be able to determine which lab the agent came from, when it was made, who made it, etc. We might even demonstrate that we are people who can be expected to act rationally.

As discussed elsewhere, there is nothing for Putin to gain by these actions and much to lose. Now, if has been suggested, this was a Putin enemy we have an even bigger problem as this suggests his government is not stable. Any replacement would be even more hostile toward us than the current government. Extreme care should be taken not to destabilize the Putin government. It might be a good time to try and work with the Russian government to try and get to the bottom of this.

Do I expect this to happen? No!! Part of the psychology when we wish to railroad someone or otherwise entrap them is to make an unreasonable demand. to expect Russia to respond by midnight is unreasonable. The seventh grade boy is to stupid to even know that he is stupid!! By making such an unrealistic demand he reveals his stupidity for the world to see. A proper analysis of the samples would probably take weeks if not months. The Russians, as the ones most familiar with the chemical, could probably tell us the following. 1.)When was it made? 2.)Which lab? 2.)Which country was it distributed to during Soviet days? 3.)Something like this is going to be heavily monitored. As such, according to Soviet records who last had possession of that particular batch (questions 1 to 3). 4.)Are we certain this is not a copy of what the Soviets made.

Stable and focused people and countries ask such basic questions before jumping to conclusions. If T-Rex actually did blindly jump to the British conclusion without even asking basic questions or applying basic commonsense, then he needed to be fired forthwith. His bio indicates he is a stable and focused person. He is elderly. Perhaps he has a mental issue or perhaps he got sick on his last trip and his cognitive abilities have been affected. As sad as it is, kudos to a POTUS who has the courage and forethought to immediately sack a team member who is not acting rationally and/or is not well.

B.Poster said...

Anonymous,

Unfortunately your hypothesis makes more sense than the one being advanced that the Putin government is behind this. With an election coming up and the World Cup coming up Putin has much to lose and little gain by doing something like this right now. As has been correctly pointed out elsewhere, such a hit could have been ordered and carried out at any time by the Russian leadership. For them the timing can't be worse. As such, to say they are behind it is an extraordinary claim. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence of which extraordinary evidence has not been presented.

I had considered the possibility that American agents were behind this but have thus far discounted such a theory. American agents are generally a combination of incompetent boobs and political hacks. Such people would probably not even know how to handle toxins from the Soviet era much less be able to obtain them on their own and not get caught. Then there is the planning of such an operation, beyond their capabilities.

Their are and have been a number of people in the US and UK who do seem hel! bent on a new Cold War and will stop at nothing to have it. Having destroyed a careful and meticulous negotiating process to try and save their preferred candidate and to bring down someone they don't like I conclude these snakes are capable of just abut anything. As such, I wouldn't put it past them!! My hypothesis on this is a British operation that may have had American assistance in the background.

Someone else thinks a Putin enemy was behind this. This is certainly plausible. Such a person could very well have access to poisons from the 70s and 80s era. They would also have incentive and their would be much upside potential with minimal downside risks.

If the Russian leadership was behind this, they likely would have used toxins that are much more modern as opposed to crude ones from the 70s and 80s. It as though someone deliberately framed the Russians here and so many people either because ideology or blind stupidity have foolishly taken the bait without even thinking things through!!

Better relations between Russia and the US are not going to undermine American national security. There would be no downside and much upside potential to this for America. A United Kingdom on good terms with Russia could act as a go between American and Russian officials as America sought to improve relations.

I certainly don't recall any serious talk between UK and Russian officials about improving ties. I've quite the opposite. Furthermore we have the UK PM embrace a wild theory that would require extraordinary evidence to prove without even bothering with any kind of pretext about supplying such evidence. Then she follows this up by placing a ridiculously unreasonable demand on the Russians to "respond by midnight!!"

As the editor pointed out elsewhere, something is clearly not right here. As a relative sane "western" leader, DJT has his work cut out for him. Stable and focused people and nations do not act in such a rash manner as the British leadership has and stable and focused people do not blindly accept things that don't make any sense without asking hard questions as apparently T-Rex failed to do. He is supposed to be the nation's top diplomat.

If he can't apply basic common sense to his position either because of ideological blindness or plain stupidity, he does not need to be there. DJT was right to fire him for this action alone.

As I understand it, he still has substantial holdings in Exxon Mobil stock. Even if the American government were to come to its senses here overnight, the Russians aren't just going to forget what was done to them. In other words, Exxon Mobil is not getting that deal back. Perhaps his company has deals with the UK. Perhaps the UK threatened those deals if he didn't get in line with their position on this. Perhaps having already lost the Russian deal he panicked not wanting to lose another deal.

fred lapides said...

All is wrong then your speculations
Our ally lies and Russia good
Case closed

fred lapides said...

Russian spy case draws comparisons to other targeted poisonings golly. walks like a duck...looks like a duck...must not be a duck? reality bites, no?

B.Poster said...

Fred,

I patiently explain to you why the current case is unlikely to be the Russian government or Vladimir Putin. You then present me with prior cases. I don't have time at the moment to evaluate each and everyone based upon who did it or was it justified by whomever may have done it.

Very respectfully right now you are reminding me of the ex girl friend of a close friend. When they would argue and she was losing, she would bring up past arguments sometimes going back 5, 7, and even 10 years.

Having had your arguments for the current case utterly destroyed beyond repair in any kind of debate setting you must now resort to prior events to try and make your case for the present situation. Bottom line: you and the British government made an extraordinary claim without providing extraordinary evidence. The only ones who can accept the claim you made are ideologues, poorly trained seals taught to simply repeat what their media masters tell them to say, or those who don't have the time or energy to think these things through.

I share some brief thoughts on one case mentioned in the article, the Litvenenko case. This was in 2006 as the article points out and from my recollection. This was about the time certain members of the "west" began to ramp into high gear their irrational need to start a new Cold War with Russia. The Litvenenko passing was WAY to convenient especially while Russia was making overtures. I think someone framed the Russians for this. In any event, we never got the kind of thorough investigation we would need to reach an informed conclusion. As stated though, each case presented would need to be evaluated separately as to who did it and was it justified. There simply isn't sufficient time and space to go down that rabbit hole.

You having lost the current argument must now try and redirect. Thank you for sharing but I'm not taking the bait.

B.Poster said...

Fred,

Didn't see your other post. I don't mean to insult you but you did reveal with the post I responded to that you have an even simpler mind than I was beginning to suspect you had.

"Our ally lies and Russia good." You know that I obviously did NOT say Russia good. If you were intellectually honest, you would know I did not say this. Either you are not reading thoroughly or you lack intellectually honesty. You can decide which one and work on it.

The US government and our ally, in this case the UK, don't exactly have a good track record of always being truthful. I've learned to be very skeptical of anything they tell us. The argument that the Russian government is behind this is irrational. There's much for them to lose and little to nothing to gain. I'm not the only one who has suggested this and I have pointed out the flaws in the argument. As additional evidence the speed in which the British government rushed to a conclusion in a complex case and then presented the Russians with an unreasonable demand, "respond by midnight" further confirms the suspicion.

Right now the leading theories are 1.)the British government simply wants to believe the Russians are behind it and based upon ideological blindness is rushing to judgment without thinking things through. "Western" governments do have a history of such behavior. 2.)Unscrupulous British officials possibly working with the Americans did this in attempt to frame the Russians. I've already explained why this is a reasonable theory. Both governments have a long history of being less than truthful. 3.)An enemy of Putin did it to make Putin look bad, to undermine him, and ultimately to oust him. With the World Cup coming up, a dicey situation in North Korea, and an election soon Putin did not need this right now and the deed could have been done at anytime. 4.)Someone in a former Soviet Republic or former eastern bloc country did this to lure the UK, America, and NATO further into their conflict with Russia. US and "western" officials have a history of being gullible and ideologically blind. See Libya, Ukraine, and Syria just to site three examples. I think there are more that can be sited.

As for the Russian connection, this one is extraordinary. Newly minted doctors are taught that when they "see hoof prints" look for horses first. If horses aren't found, then look for zebras. The Russian connection as presented by you and the media is an extraordinary one. At best, these people aren't very good detectives and they'd make lousy doctors.

Again thank you for sharing. Against my better judgment I have may taken your bait. I refuse to continue to do so. If you have something else to offer on the case, I am all ears or in this case all eyes as I do wish to learn but, as stated, extraordinary evidence will need to be presented which so far is lacking. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

At a bare minimum, before one exacerbates a Cold War that we don't need, likely can't afford, and lack the resources to prosecute effectively one needs to be very careful. Stable and focused nations and people do not make wild and reckless accusations such as have been made against the Russian government that lack basic common sense or logic as I have demonstrated thoroughly why the argument is irrational. A good detective/doctor focuses on the horses, eliminates them as the cause, and then moves on to the zebras. In this case, the UK government did not even bother to look for the horses but instead went straight for the zebras.

Our top diplomat just went right along!! For this alone he needed to get fired. We expect or should expect better from our leaders.

B.Poster said...

As an aside and perhaps getting off topic, a news person and a commentator here have now referred to T-Rex as a "good man." As to his character, this is not something I can attest to.

I do recall that when he took the job he was vilified. After all this was the CEO of a hated oil company. He was given a friendship medal by the hated Russian leaders. He negotiated an oil deal with these hated Russians worth 500 billion dollars.

Now he gets fired from the Trump Administration and he is now a "good man." It's as though anti-Trump hysteria has risen to such depravity that the critics can just turn on a dime and whoever was a villain is now the good guy simply because of a falling out with POTUS. This suggests a level of mental instability of the likes which I have seen few demonstrate. If I am a foreign leader or official watching all of this and knowing that many who think in such depraved ways hold important positions within the US government, I am going to be very reluctant to trust the United States government and will probably seek not to deal with them only dealing with them when there is no choice knowing good and well that such people are mentally unbalanced and will turn on me the moment they feel it suits them and having no depth of character except for perhaps irrational hatred for certain people and groups it is very easy to turn on someone at any time.

Normal people do not make someone who they vilified as a "good man" based upon one decision they might make. It requires much more evidence. For those without depth of character and filled with hatred, it is easy but they are not to be trusted. I would say they might be narcissists. Someone needs to explain to them that the world does not revolve around them. Whatever they are, competent professional mental help they need and they need it badly.

Will they seek it? Probably not but improvement is measured in baby steps in the right direction. We can all hope and pray they do for the good of themselves and maybe even the country and the world.