Novichok Nerve Gas Attempted Murder

This looks both very serious and very puzzling.

It is very puzzling because the only possible motive for anyone to use this agent to murder somebody in the UK would be to provoke a crisis in relations between Russia and the West.

The British Prime Minister said:

“Either this was a direct action by the Russian state against our country, or the Russian government lost control of its potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others

Both alternatives are possible and both have very serious implications.

But also very serious and very puzzling is the fact that she announced that on Monday 19 March and demanded a response from Russia by midnight on the following day.

Use of nerve gas in an attempt to murder a Russian traitor was suspected immediately following the attack a fortnight earlier, 4 March. There was plenty of time for both British and Russian governments to carefully consider how they would respond.

The British deadline seems intended to provoke the Russian response of demanding that they first be provided with a sample for verification.

Under the relevant international agreements for prohibition and destruction of chemical weapons there are clear procedures for verification by certified laboratories with care taken to preserve the chain of custody of samples for use as evidence of violations. See Section 4, chapter III of the OPCW Blue Book:

Click to access BlueBook.2011.01.pdf

It simply does not make sense that the British government would have set a deadline for response without first providing samples to other laboratories, including the Russians.

France has now joined the US and Germany in a statement of solidarity with the UK that says there is no other plausible explanation than Russian responsibility. But the initial French reaction was to insist on evidence first:

If, as is plausible, somebody with access to illegal Russian stockpiles did this without authority one would expect the Russian government to try to evade responsibility while being extremely cooperative and anxious to help establish the facts so as to ensure any culprits were found and stopped from seriously damaging Russian as well as other interests.

Instead Russia is churning out the usual stuff from Sputnik and threatening retaliation.

If that is the result of ineptitude on the part of both the British and Russian governments that is not terribly unusual.

But there is the other alternative that the Russians were deliberately testing Western responses. So far those responses are completely inadequate if based on a firm conclusion that the Russian government is either complicit in testing Western responses or unable to control its security personnel who decide to do so without authority.

4 thoughts on “Novichok Nerve Gas Attempted Murder

  1. In 2006, the Russian Upper House passed legislation allowing the President to order extra-judicial killings outside of Russia in cases of terrorists or extremists who threatened the security of Russia. This is worth noting but proves nothing of the specific Skripal case. This article is worth a read. It concludes:
    “In time what can be done is the chemical imprint of the created element can indeed be traced back to where it was made.”

    The definition of extremism in the law allows for the prosecution of those who criticize federal and local governments and officials, official policies, laws, ideas, and religious and political organizations.

    Just had a personal engagement with an old former comrade from the early 1970s who assures me that Putin is Russia’s saviour, a strong opponent of ‘neo-liberalism’ and US imperialism’s quest for world domination. Wasn’t sure if I was reading something from the LaRouchians at first.


    • Oddly the LaRouchies, like many other weirdnesses, originated from 1968 split in SDS involving people expelled from then Maoist Progressive Labor Party.

      There is still something oddly interesting about some of their stuff that combines total nuttiness, fascism and partially realistic appraisal of criminal side of ruling class.

      Just reminded me to checkout whether the “Satanic Reds” are still around. They are, and much more philosophically interesting. Here’s their page on the “Dark Force”, Dialectical Materialism:

      Better yet, here’s Mao’s “On Contradiction” with Satanic annotations:

      Perhaps your old former comrade could be helped away from Putinism by getting into their stuff instead of LaRouchiest stuff?

      I gather one of REM’s old former comrades escaped from Hoxhaism to Presbytarianism and is now a Minister. Whatever helps!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Notes on Trump 36 – media gives up? | C21st Left

  3. A photo provided by the London Metropolitan Police on Sept. 5, 2018, shows two Russian nationals, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who are charged with the attempted murder of ex-spy Sergei Skripal using the deadly nerve agent Novichok in Salisbury, England.


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