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Transcript here.

On a more serious note, this is a PR disaster. Even Margarita Simonyan herself visibly realizes as the interview goes on. Their tourism story reaches levels of implausibility that should not even be possible: We are just heterosexual business partners – but no, we won’t go into any details; our first sightseeing tour was cut short by snow, we live in the tropical part of Russia so we’re not used to it; we visited Salsbury twice just to confirm that yes, it has the highest spire of any English cathedral – no need to make a correction to Wikipedia!

Anyhow, I am not going to insult my readers’ intelligence by trying to fit their story into something consistent. In any case, since even the people who are generously compensated by Russian taxpayers don’t see it fit to do so, why should anyone else?

The only remaining question is:

  • The lingering one of whether this GRU hit was a “private” criminal one, or ordered by Putin. (In all fairness, this is now of largely academic interest. The Kremlin have just painted a bulls-eye on themselves).
  • Whether this PR travesty was a result of incompetence, sabotage, or an elaborate FU to the Britbongs. (Also largely irrelevant except insofar as it reveals something about the sustainability of the Putinist state; if the first option is correct, then with cadres like these, it needs no enemies).

Meanwhile, I expect this to lead to real world repercussions:

  • From now on, Britain has no out to quietly bury this affair, even if it wanted to. Further sanctions from the British are guaranteed.
  • Also I wonder if this is what finally gets RT booted off the British airways. If so – lame hill to die on.
  • It puts Germany, which has to date been courteously skeptical towards the Brits, in an impossible position. Had they kept that hapless duo off the airwaves, this is how it would have remained. But no longer.
  • Consequently, I would guess that further serious EU sanctions are now likelier than not.
  • Meanwhile, a State Department official announced that it is imposing “very severe” sanctions over Skripal. This probably came too soon after the interview to be a response to it. This suggests that the US is serious about hewing to the harsher options at its disposal under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991.

In the meantime, things are slowly building up to a head in Syria. Russia is currently in the middle of Vostok-2018, and still has a massive armada parked off Syria. Turkey has come out against the planned offensive on Idlib (so much for the fevered talk about a new Russian/Turkish/Iranian alliance), and is reinforcing its military presence there. DNR head Zakharchenko has recently been assassinated in the DNR; its new leader pending elections, Denis Pushilin, is a person with a murky past who is directly beholden to Moscow. The US has moved naval assets with a total of 200 Tomahawk missiles to the East Mediterranean. RT keeps reporting on imminent preparations by the rebels and White Helmets to stage a false flag gas attack, even as the Skripal affair has just undermined Russia’s credibility on gas attacks and false flag conspiracy theories.

Hopefully, probably, these are just a series of coincidences. But if this was a Hearts of Iron game, my suspicion is that the “World Tension” meter would now be unnervingly high.

 
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  1. I didn’t watch the interview, but what I saw about the transcript… it’s just bizarre.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Antiwar7
    I read the transcript and thought it was believable. Unless they're very sophisticated, their childish embarrassment about probably being in fact lovers was the most convincing part.

    Plus I don't find it odd to plan a weekend in London for fun, and trying to make a day trip to Salisbury for sightseeing.
    , @Mikhail
    The folks at The Duran thought it was great work by Simonyan in debunking the Brit government claim:

    http://theduran.com/uk-nerve-agent-case-against-russia-collapses-video/

    It's highlighted that these two men indicate that their Brit reported names aren't fictitious, thereby conflicting with what the Brit government said.

    It's also noted that their stated non-clarity of the kind of outside of Russia connected work they do might relate to a possible sexual preference matter concerning the two.
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  2. And actually, I’m starting to believe that it’s actually really Assad behind those chemical weapons attacks, at least most of them. I don’t know why, but maybe for the same bizarre reasons they did this.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    The man just LOVES having American occupation troops in his country. Loves illegal American airstrikes.
    , @Cagey Beast
    Wow do you fold easily!
    , @E. Harding
    I thought the evidence of Syrian government culpability in the August 2013 chemical weapons attacks was strong ever since about a month after the incident. The April 2017 and 2018 attacks had less clear evidence to suggest they were committed by the Syrian government, but there was no strong evidence contradicting the US account of these, as far as I can remember.
    , @Londonbob
    Useful idiot.

    We already know thanks to Sy Hersh and his intel connections 2013 was done by the Turks. Obama confirmed this in his interview with the Atlantic. The OPCW has found no evidence in Douma and US military Intel leaked through the usual suspects like Giraldi, Pat Lang and Hersh that Khan Sheikhoun never happened either.
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  3. DreadIlk says:

    World tension is indeed very high but get a grip of yourself. All the things you mentioned we’re going to happen whether Kremlin did anything or not. So this interview while hilarious does not change anything.

    Read More
    • Agree: Felix Keverich
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Possibly.

    But thanks to the Galactic Brains at RT, we now even have otherwise extremely "Russophile" people such as reiner Tor seriously reassessing who was behind the Syrian chemical weapons attacks.
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  4. Mitleser says:

    They were neither tourists nor was it a GRU hit.

    It puts Germany, which has to date been courteously skeptical towards the Brits, in an impossible position.

    What are you talking about?
    The German government has sided with London months ago.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    In rhetoric, sure, and expectedly so, but they were clearly against further sanctions. Not sure this will still hold now.
    , @reiner Tor
    They did the barest minimum which they had to do unless they wanted to openly accuse the British government of lying. I mean, a government uses chemical weapons on European soil. Something has to be done if you believe it happened. So the Germans did the absolute minimum needed under such circumstances.

    They were neither tourists nor was it a GRU hit.
     
    They are definitely people who the Russian government in all its wisdom decided not to prosecute for the attempted murder of two Russian citizens with illegal chemical weapons. Even just possessing the chemical is a war crime in and of itself.
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  5. I can think of only one reason why they did this interview. They wanted to dispel once and for all the myth of Russian election meddling.

    Does now anyone seriously believe that such an incompetent intelligence service and propaganda machine which created this PR disaster for Russia is capable of influencing an election one way or the other? Even Russia Today… I mean, it’s okay, they incompetently tried to murder the Skripals (instead managed to murder only a bystander), but this interview was supposed to be the product of some propaganda machine. Well, it’s an own goal. They would have been much better off staying silent.

    So I guess the only election meddling which now still looks half plausible is that Russia tried to have Hillary elected and tried to influence the British vote in favor of Bremain.

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  6. DreadIlk says:

    I like Sharij’s theory. That it was a set up for Russian GRU. They showed up for something but then Skripals we’re dropped on them. And now Russians can’t just come out and say yeah we were there but not for Skripals.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Londonbob
    I think that is still a possibility. The government narrative is still farcical and something is being covered up.
    , @Dan Bagrov
    I like this hypothesis. These doods are obviously muscle, GRU or private sector. Someone wanted two menacing Russians in the area and arranged for their to be some. The novichok poisoning still doesn’t make sense, I think the original take that it was fabricated by Cuck Island still holds. Unless RT has some 30 dimensional chess move planned putting them on TV is never the less a PR disaster. Better to just tell the truth “we were there to kill someone else and we’re set up”. Russia needs to hire better western media spin doctors.
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  7. @Mitleser
    They were neither tourists nor was it a GRU hit.

    It puts Germany, which has to date been courteously skeptical towards the Brits, in an impossible position.
     
    What are you talking about?
    The German government has sided with London months ago.

    In rhetoric, sure, and expectedly so, but they were clearly against further sanctions. Not sure this will still hold now.

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    • Replies: @Mitleser
    They were also clearly against sanctions until they suddenly were not.
    When push comes to shove, they side with London.
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  8. Or, Russia had nothing to do with it and they(and RT) are stupid enough to fall into a black PR trap.

    While things may be tight at the top, I honestly think the Russia has a huge infiltration problem now.

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    • Replies: @Mikhail

    Or, Russia had nothing to do with it and they(and RT) are stupid enough to fall into a black PR trap.

    While things may be tight at the top, I honestly think the Russia has a huge infiltration problem now.
     

    At play is too much phony, crony, baloney, it's not what you know, but who you know as in who is your rabbi - used to note how some advance over others. that very definition has been used on the NBC TV series Law and order SVU and is known among my police friends.
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  9. Anonymous[218] • Disclaimer says:

    Just a bizarre series of events all around. From the timing of the operation to its execution to this attempt at an “explanation.” Either Putin is truly playing n-dimensional chess, he’s just taunting the whole world and daring them to respond (mission accomplished!), there’s some kind of fifth column/Russian deep state actively trying to sabotage him…I guess it’s nothing but an intellectual exercise at this point, but seriously, wtf?

    Better question: how will shills explain this away?

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  10. @DreadIlk
    World tension is indeed very high but get a grip of yourself. All the things you mentioned we're going to happen whether Kremlin did anything or not. So this interview while hilarious does not change anything.

    Possibly.

    But thanks to the Galactic Brains at RT, we now even have otherwise extremely “Russophile” people such as reiner Tor seriously reassessing who was behind the Syrian chemical weapons attacks.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    For the record, even if Assad is “murdering its own people with chemical weapons,” he’s still the lesser evil. So Russia is correct to support it.

    But this Skripal affair certainly created a serious credibility problem for Russia. How can you believe what Russians say now? More seriously, how can you believe they even understand what they are doing or saying? It’s like when my three year old daughter says something she heard on TV: you cannot be sure she even understands what she is saying.

    Tinfoil hat theory: the Americans are using something to damage the decision-making of the Russian leadership. Some kind of biological weapon affecting their brains.
    , @Twinkie

    But thanks to the Galactic Brains at RT, we now even have otherwise extremely “Russophile” people such as reiner Tor seriously reassessing who was behind the Syrian chemical weapons attacks.
     
    I've grown much more "Russophilic" as of late, in part thanks to your blog. But this episode has made me question whether my growing Russophilia was, in fact, misguided and that my previous "Cold War" attitude might have been, indeed, more appropriate.
    , @Mikhail
    Clashing with Alexander Mercouris, who contrary to what you suggested (at another thread), isn't out of the RT fold.

    Otherwise, I can't disagree that RT is at times is off the mark in some instances.

    , @Ludwitt
    It seems to me that there is at least one explanation that can fit the various disparate inconsistencies in narratives on all sides.

    To begin with, whoever was responsible for this conspiracy - the GRU or MI6 [assuming that 99.9% it’s one of these two or equivalent] - it is 99.9% certain that Russia and the UK know who did it. So whatever is being played in public is some sort of deliberate game.

    Keep in mind that the crime was committed just a day after Yulia Skripal landed in UK. Petrov/Boshirov (here on referred to as PB), landed on Friday. Yulia on Saturday. The crime was committed Sunday. So one question is why that weekend of all weekends when Yulia was visiting. It can’t be a coincidence. Unless Yulia too was a target. Which then begs the question why the GRU - if it was the GRU who poisoned the Skripals - wanted to get rid of her in the UK when they could do it far more efficiently in Russia.

    A second curious fact is that the Skripals turned off their mobiles in exiting the house on Sunday (as resorted by British media).

    Thirdly is when PB visited Salisbury: at 11:48 am AFTER the last known/reported exit of the Skripals at 9:15 am.

    Fourth is the fact that for reasons that are unclear Yulia Skripal has been cut-off from the public with only a highly stilted “interview” which makes the PB interview look majestic.

    One explanation is this: Sergei Skripal - who even without a pardon in 2010 and exchanged for Russian spies, would have been a free man in Russia in 2018 having served out his 13 years from 2004 - wanted to come home (to be with his aging mother?). Yulia Skripal was to help him do that. PB *were* GRU agents but not assassins but two guys to assist with this effort and were to rendezvous with the Skripals to discuss in some public place.

    MI6 got wind of the whole deal. It is highly plausible that they were tracking PB to begin with. They decided to kill a lot of birds with one stone: get rid of the Skripals, frame Russia. Getting hold of the poison is no problem - it is almost certain that Russia as well as NATO countries have this poison.

    Keep in mind that for the GRU to mount an assassination on foreign soil - especially before Russia’s elections - was incredibly risky for very little reward (killing Skripal as a warning to future defectors?). They would confirm the existence of nerve agents in Russia, the risk of being caught with multiple CCTV’s before they left and so on is high.

    Conversely MI6 are on their own soil. They have virtually complete control over the environment. They can easily plant things, ask certain info be sealed, prevent Yulia Skripal from talking, erase any CCTV info that is inconvenient and so on.

    If this theory is correct, Russia knows exactly what has happened. They can if needed expose Yulia’s part - but that’s further endangering her and it’s unclear as to what MI6 is doing with her.

    With the UK police - who almost certainly are not involved but picking up whatever clues have been left behind - publicly outing PB, Russia decided to call the bluff and put PB out there with RT. (I found Simonyan’s interview quite fair: she was skeptical and sarcastic even, and if anything bolstered RT’s claim that they would treat anyone with the same degree of questioning)

    This saga is far from over of course. The UK police still have a lot of loose ends in their own narrative. The public still needs to hear from the Skripals.

    To see how it unfolds.
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  11. @Mitleser
    They were neither tourists nor was it a GRU hit.

    It puts Germany, which has to date been courteously skeptical towards the Brits, in an impossible position.
     
    What are you talking about?
    The German government has sided with London months ago.

    They did the barest minimum which they had to do unless they wanted to openly accuse the British government of lying. I mean, a government uses chemical weapons on European soil. Something has to be done if you believe it happened. So the Germans did the absolute minimum needed under such circumstances.

    They were neither tourists nor was it a GRU hit.

    They are definitely people who the Russian government in all its wisdom decided not to prosecute for the attempted murder of two Russian citizens with illegal chemical weapons. Even just possessing the chemical is a war crime in and of itself.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser

    I mean, a government uses chemical weapons on European soil. Something has to be done if you believe it happened. So the Germans did the absolute minimum needed under such circumstances.
     
    Exactly, if...
    London did not provide evidence to the German government.

    According to rbb Inforadio, the British government has so far not presented any evidence to the federal government that would prove that Russia is responsible for the poison attack on the former double agent Sergej Skripal and his daughter.

    The federal government informed the secret parliamentary control committee of the Bundestag about this yesterday. So far one had only learned that the poison had been Novichok - a chemical warfare agent produced in the Soviet Union.
     
    Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator
    https://www.tagesschau.de/ausland/skripal-159.html

    They are definitely people who the Russian government in all its wisdom decided not to prosecute for the attempted murder of two Russian citizens with illegal chemical weapons. Even just possessing the chemical is a war crime in and of itself.
     
    This is based on the assumption that they did it as suggested by London.
    Why prosecute them if they have no reason to believe that it was true?
    , @El Dato

    Even just possessing the chemical is a war crime in and of itself.
     
    > No war going on.
    > Still a war crime.

    Sounds dubious, we are not in some weird cyberpunk novel. I'm sure it is "illegal to possess"...
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  12. Meanwhile, a State Department official announced that it is imposing “very severe” sanctions over Skripal. This probably came too soon after the interview to be a response to it. This suggests that the US is serious about hewing to the harsher options at its disposal under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991.

    so much for the media narrative of trump be too cozy with Russia . trump treating china and mexico with kid gloves but really sticking it to Russia and turkey, which no one foresaw in 2016/2017

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  13. Mitleser says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    In rhetoric, sure, and expectedly so, but they were clearly against further sanctions. Not sure this will still hold now.

    They were also clearly against sanctions until they suddenly were not.
    When push comes to shove, they side with London.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    They usually stood for limited sanctions only. Now it’s obvious to anyone with half a brain that it was these two guys who the Russian government is protecting. So the Germans cannot just act as if they didn’t notice. There will be a lot of pressure to do something more.
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  14. @Anatoly Karlin
    Possibly.

    But thanks to the Galactic Brains at RT, we now even have otherwise extremely "Russophile" people such as reiner Tor seriously reassessing who was behind the Syrian chemical weapons attacks.

    For the record, even if Assad is “murdering its own people with chemical weapons,” he’s still the lesser evil. So Russia is correct to support it.

    But this Skripal affair certainly created a serious credibility problem for Russia. How can you believe what Russians say now? More seriously, how can you believe they even understand what they are doing or saying? It’s like when my three year old daughter says something she heard on TV: you cannot be sure she even understands what she is saying.

    Tinfoil hat theory: the Americans are using something to damage the decision-making of the Russian leadership. Some kind of biological weapon affecting their brains.

    Read More
    • LOL: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @Lot
    "Some kind of biological weapon affecting their brains."

    LSD can be absorbed through the skin and is nearly impossible to detect in blood.
    , @Magic Man
    I can't believe people are actually throwing in the towel and believing this. Just what is this supposed evidence supposed to prove? They found two guys who are sketchy, so that means they murdered someone? It doesn't follow.

    Also, Germany does not avoid sanctions because of naivete or their alleged Russophillia (haha). It is likely that they saw this stuff months ago and sided with London, but because of their alliance, and not the credibility of Britain's evidence. These severe sanctions have been in place for four years, so this is theater. The theater is intended to fuck up Russia's finances since they so stubbornly refuse to bend the knee. The US empire is headed into oblivion, and this flailing about and attacking everyone is solid proof. Countries like South Korea, Japan, and Germany put the lie that association with the US guaranteed success, but why are there no post-Cold War miracles? Because there are no bullets left in the chamber.
    , @iffen
    the Americans are using something to damage the decision-making of the Russian leadership.

    When in doubt, blame Uncle Sam.
    , @Mikhail
    As I noted at this thread, that Simonyan interview wasn't such a great disaster.
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  15. @Mitleser
    They were also clearly against sanctions until they suddenly were not.
    When push comes to shove, they side with London.

    They usually stood for limited sanctions only. Now it’s obvious to anyone with half a brain that it was these two guys who the Russian government is protecting. So the Germans cannot just act as if they didn’t notice. There will be a lot of pressure to do something more.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser
    Sanctions for what?

    Protecting these two guys?


    They usually stood for limited sanctions only.
     
    Yes, because they are protecting their interests. Has that changed?
    Sanctions are based on politics, not evidence/facts.
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  16. Mitleser says:
    @reiner Tor
    They did the barest minimum which they had to do unless they wanted to openly accuse the British government of lying. I mean, a government uses chemical weapons on European soil. Something has to be done if you believe it happened. So the Germans did the absolute minimum needed under such circumstances.

    They were neither tourists nor was it a GRU hit.
     
    They are definitely people who the Russian government in all its wisdom decided not to prosecute for the attempted murder of two Russian citizens with illegal chemical weapons. Even just possessing the chemical is a war crime in and of itself.

    I mean, a government uses chemical weapons on European soil. Something has to be done if you believe it happened. So the Germans did the absolute minimum needed under such circumstances.

    Exactly, if…
    London did not provide evidence to the German government.

    According to rbb Inforadio, the British government has so far not presented any evidence to the federal government that would prove that Russia is responsible for the poison attack on the former double agent Sergej Skripal and his daughter.

    The federal government informed the secret parliamentary control committee of the Bundestag about this yesterday. So far one had only learned that the poison had been Novichok – a chemical warfare agent produced in the Soviet Union.

    Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator

    https://www.tagesschau.de/ausland/skripal-159.html

    They are definitely people who the Russian government in all its wisdom decided not to prosecute for the attempted murder of two Russian citizens with illegal chemical weapons. Even just possessing the chemical is a war crime in and of itself.

    This is based on the assumption that they did it as suggested by London.
    Why prosecute them if they have no reason to believe that it was true?

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    London did not provide evidence to the German government.
     
    But now they provided evidence that two Russian guys visited Salisbury twice in the most suspicious manner at the time of the poisoning.

    And now the Russians also provided evidence that these two guys were definitely not tourists. They also provided evidence that these two guys are lying about why they were there.

    Why prosecute them if they have no reason to believe that it was true?
     
    There is enough evidence to put them in custody and make them suspects. They were there in the most suspicious manner, and both are lying about what they did there.

    The Russian government, if it was uninvolved, should now put them in custody and start the investigation against them. Also ask the British for help and start cooperating with them. Maybe that way they can still salvage their reputation.
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  17. Their tourism story reaches levels of implausibility that should not even be possible: We are just heterosexual business partners – but no, we won’t go into any details

    Admitting that they are a pair of homosexual lovers would have been a nice touch.

    I don’t think it’s anywhere near as bad as Anatoly imagines it to be. No one cares! US&UK are already set into their own narrative, which they’re going to pursue, regardless of anything the Russians could say. In the rest of the world – absolutely nobody cares.

    Offensive in Idlib has been delayed as Putin is trying to reach some sort of understanding with his “friend” Erdogan.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    Admitting that they are a pair of homosexual lovers would have been a nice touch.
     
    Homintern could have been our shield against the Eternal Anglo.

    But it was not to be.
    , @Vendetta
    Damn. My thought is, the ground offensive in Idlib should be primed to start the day Hurricane Florence makes landfall in the United States.

    Trunp can’t afford to be focused on anything but the disaster response in light of the upcoming midterms. I was all ready for the ranting and raving to begin about Putin hacking the weather.
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  18. @reiner Tor
    And actually, I’m starting to believe that it’s actually really Assad behind those chemical weapons attacks, at least most of them. I don’t know why, but maybe for the same bizarre reasons they did this.

    The man just LOVES having American occupation troops in his country. Loves illegal American airstrikes.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    As much as the Russian elite likes being sanctioned.
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  19. Mitleser says:
    @reiner Tor
    They usually stood for limited sanctions only. Now it’s obvious to anyone with half a brain that it was these two guys who the Russian government is protecting. So the Germans cannot just act as if they didn’t notice. There will be a lot of pressure to do something more.

    Sanctions for what?

    Protecting these two guys?

    They usually stood for limited sanctions only.

    Yes, because they are protecting their interests. Has that changed?
    Sanctions are based on politics, not evidence/facts.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Sanctions for what?

    Protecting these two guys?
     
    You pretend to be thick. If the Russian government had nothing to do with it, it would normally prosecute the attempted murder of two Russian citizens. Obviously, it has something to do with it. The Russian government is complicit in using chemical weapons on European soil. And this is the most charitable interpretation.

    Sanctions are based on politics
     
    And politics is based on mood of the public. I have already seen a meme of the two guys unable to walk because of the snow.
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  20. @Felix Keverich


    Their tourism story reaches levels of implausibility that should not even be possible: We are just heterosexual business partners – but no, we won’t go into any details
     
    Admitting that they are a pair of homosexual lovers would have been a nice touch.

    I don't think it's anywhere near as bad as Anatoly imagines it to be. No one cares! US&UK are already set into their own narrative, which they're going to pursue, regardless of anything the Russians could say. In the rest of the world - absolutely nobody cares.

    Offensive in Idlib has been delayed as Putin is trying to reach some sort of understanding with his "friend" Erdogan.

    Admitting that they are a pair of homosexual lovers would have been a nice touch.

    Homintern could have been our shield against the Eternal Anglo.

    But it was not to be.

    Read More
    • Replies: @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan
    Never woulda happened.

    Homintern is a creation of the Jews.

    Period.
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  21. Sean says:

    Even Simonyan! As the person behind the success of English RT and the one with most to lose if RT is banned, I think it very far from probable she failed to make Putin aware exactly how this interview would make Russia look.

    It seems clear Putin is fomenting symmetrical schismogenesis with the West, which he has concluded will try to borg Russia as soon as he is gone if they remain on diplomatic and business good terms. Even if this is not his intention it is the way the world works. The Russian deep state instinctively sees it must stand alone unless another Yeltsin era style takeover will result.

    Germany is cocooned within Nato with no hostile state on its border so they do not care because the US has to defend them. Much of Merkel’s Germany’s foreign (immigrant surge) and domestic (nuclear power shutdown and armed forces rundown) policy have the effect of making it impossible for any successor government to pursue a nationalist policy. The ties with Russia concerning pipelines, technology and trade will remain strong.

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    • Replies: @Jounn
    I agree that generally it is in the post-Putin interests of Russia for the relationship with the west to be poisoned beyond repair, but I doubt this sloppy situation was related.

    However, now that this situation is escalating it becomes a useful tool to wreck the relationship.

    If one believes that USG is eventually going to cut swift, sanction sovereign debt, etc., then it is better that this happens earlier in his final term. This would give him 5 years to steady the state, and would also provide excellent cover to extract resources back from the oligarchs.

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  22. @Mitleser

    I mean, a government uses chemical weapons on European soil. Something has to be done if you believe it happened. So the Germans did the absolute minimum needed under such circumstances.
     
    Exactly, if...
    London did not provide evidence to the German government.

    According to rbb Inforadio, the British government has so far not presented any evidence to the federal government that would prove that Russia is responsible for the poison attack on the former double agent Sergej Skripal and his daughter.

    The federal government informed the secret parliamentary control committee of the Bundestag about this yesterday. So far one had only learned that the poison had been Novichok - a chemical warfare agent produced in the Soviet Union.
     
    Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator
    https://www.tagesschau.de/ausland/skripal-159.html

    They are definitely people who the Russian government in all its wisdom decided not to prosecute for the attempted murder of two Russian citizens with illegal chemical weapons. Even just possessing the chemical is a war crime in and of itself.
     
    This is based on the assumption that they did it as suggested by London.
    Why prosecute them if they have no reason to believe that it was true?

    London did not provide evidence to the German government.

    But now they provided evidence that two Russian guys visited Salisbury twice in the most suspicious manner at the time of the poisoning.

    And now the Russians also provided evidence that these two guys were definitely not tourists. They also provided evidence that these two guys are lying about why they were there.

    Why prosecute them if they have no reason to believe that it was true?

    There is enough evidence to put them in custody and make them suspects. They were there in the most suspicious manner, and both are lying about what they did there.

    The Russian government, if it was uninvolved, should now put them in custody and start the investigation against them. Also ask the British for help and start cooperating with them. Maybe that way they can still salvage their reputation.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser

    But now they provided evidence that two Russian guys visited Salisbury twice in the most suspicious manner at the time of the poisoning.
     
    Which suggests the need for more investigations, not more sanctions.

    There is enough evidence to put them in custody and make them suspects.
     
    Is there evidence that they are not already de facto in custody?

    Also ask the British for help and start cooperating with them.
     
    The British do not seem to want to cooperate, unless it allows to humiliate the Russian side and force themto accept the narrative of the British government.
    , @Beckow
    I hesitate to rain on the 'this is a catastrophe' interpretation, but I have seen nothing that shows that these 2 fellows used a nerve agent on Skripals. Almost the opposite.

    Given that UK has conclusively shown that it had everything under surveillance, means that the fact that they have not released the actual video of these 2 guys (or anyone else) on Skripals' street, doing the nasty with the door handle, undermines the case. They either don't have it, or they are possible holding it back, but why? The street, and the house, were under surveillance. So what gives?

    these two guys were definitely not tourists
     
    It depends on what the definition of a 'tourist' is. I agree, they were not sight-seeing, or not primarily. Their sexual orientation seems obvious, and the UK visit looks like a certain kind of 'tourism', the one that would be hard for them to admit, but it might have nothing to do with the Skripals.

    Regarding the PR aspect: why does that matter so much? Truth is often clumsy, lies can be very sleek. If you stick 2 provincials, who have things to hide, on TV and put them under pressure, they will look awkward and evasive all the time. They were uncomfortable, but they don't look like agents. Take 2 Yorkshire bumpkins who took a trip to Russia, stick them in a middle of an international spy story, scare them, and then watch what they say translated into another language, I doubt they would be convincing.

    I am starting to think that there is less to this. That all sides lied about something, but that not much happened. The cast doesn't support a big story, and that includes the two sight-seeing 'fitness' fanatics. And Theresa May. We still don't know what happened.
    , @anonymous coward

    But now they provided evidence that two Russian guys visited Salisbury twice in the most suspicious manner at the time of the poisoning.
     
    You really think the British are stupid enough to set up a false flag operation without a decent fall guy to blame?

    Of course they timed the poisoning so a suitably suspicious suspect (in this case, suspects) is nearby. Use your brain!

    Second point: Putin said that these guys "did nothing so illegal". Putin is careful with words and never lies. Read carefully now: he didn't say they "were innocent", he said they "did nothing so illegal".

    Which means the duo are criminals, but not connected to the Skripal farce.

    They said in the interview that they are "small-time businessmen" in the "sports nutrition" business.

    Translation: they are small-time dealers for illegal or semi-legal drugs. They were in Britain for business, but of course they can't come out and say they were there for a drug deal.
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  23. @Felix Keverich
    The man just LOVES having American occupation troops in his country. Loves illegal American airstrikes.

    As much as the Russian elite likes being sanctioned.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser
    There is nobody alive who remembers the times when Russia was not sanctioned one way or another.
    , @Felix Keverich
    They are being sanctioned for things like taking Crimea and bombing American-backed terrorists. It's a trade-off every real Russian should be willing to make.
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  24. Jounn says:
    @Sean
    Even Simonyan! As the person behind the success of English RT and the one with most to lose if RT is banned, I think it very far from probable she failed to make Putin aware exactly how this interview would make Russia look.

    It seems clear Putin is fomenting symmetrical schismogenesis with the West, which he has concluded will try to borg Russia as soon as he is gone if they remain on diplomatic and business good terms. Even if this is not his intention it is the way the world works. The Russian deep state instinctively sees it must stand alone unless another Yeltsin era style takeover will result.

    Germany is cocooned within Nato with no hostile state on its border so they do not care because the US has to defend them. Much of Merkel's Germany's foreign (immigrant surge) and domestic (nuclear power shutdown and armed forces rundown) policy have the effect of making it impossible for any successor government to pursue a nationalist policy. The ties with Russia concerning pipelines, technology and trade will remain strong.

    I agree that generally it is in the post-Putin interests of Russia for the relationship with the west to be poisoned beyond repair, but I doubt this sloppy situation was related.

    However, now that this situation is escalating it becomes a useful tool to wreck the relationship.

    If one believes that USG is eventually going to cut swift, sanction sovereign debt, etc., then it is better that this happens earlier in his final term. This would give him 5 years to steady the state, and would also provide excellent cover to extract resources back from the oligarchs.

    Read More
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  25. Mitleser says:
    @reiner Tor

    London did not provide evidence to the German government.
     
    But now they provided evidence that two Russian guys visited Salisbury twice in the most suspicious manner at the time of the poisoning.

    And now the Russians also provided evidence that these two guys were definitely not tourists. They also provided evidence that these two guys are lying about why they were there.

    Why prosecute them if they have no reason to believe that it was true?
     
    There is enough evidence to put them in custody and make them suspects. They were there in the most suspicious manner, and both are lying about what they did there.

    The Russian government, if it was uninvolved, should now put them in custody and start the investigation against them. Also ask the British for help and start cooperating with them. Maybe that way they can still salvage their reputation.

    But now they provided evidence that two Russian guys visited Salisbury twice in the most suspicious manner at the time of the poisoning.

    Which suggests the need for more investigations, not more sanctions.

    There is enough evidence to put them in custody and make them suspects.

    Is there evidence that they are not already de facto in custody?

    Also ask the British for help and start cooperating with them.

    The British do not seem to want to cooperate, unless it allows to humiliate the Russian side and force themto accept the narrative of the British government.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Which suggests the need for more investigations, not more sanctions.
     
    Russia is not investigating. It could easily announce it.

    Is there evidence that they are not already de facto in custody?
     
    They are not legally in custody, which is shown by the fact that they were allowed to go on TV.

    The British do not seem to want to cooperate, unless it allows to humiliate the Russian side and force themto accept the narrative of the British government.
     
    The British prime minister already in March provided a possible explanation about Russian chemical weapons falling into the hands of criminals. This is humiliating, but it happens sometimes, even in the USA anthrax found its way to a crazy guy. The Russians could have cooperated, if they weren’t the ones doing it.
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  26. @Mitleser
    Sanctions for what?

    Protecting these two guys?


    They usually stood for limited sanctions only.
     
    Yes, because they are protecting their interests. Has that changed?
    Sanctions are based on politics, not evidence/facts.

    Sanctions for what?

    Protecting these two guys?

    You pretend to be thick. If the Russian government had nothing to do with it, it would normally prosecute the attempted murder of two Russian citizens. Obviously, it has something to do with it. The Russian government is complicit in using chemical weapons on European soil. And this is the most charitable interpretation.

    Sanctions are based on politics

    And politics is based on mood of the public. I have already seen a meme of the two guys unable to walk because of the snow.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser

    If the Russian government had nothing to do with it, it would normally prosecute the attempted murder of two Russian citizens.
     
    They do not even have access to said citizens. It is not a normal situation, by any means.

    Obviously, it has something to do with it.
     
    Them knowing more than they are willing to admit can also mean that they know that these two guys are not responsible for what happened to the Skripals.
    In that case, prosecuting them is meaningless.

    And politics is based on mood of the public.
     
    Only partially.
    , @Dmitry
    A problem is a typical product of having some incompetent people in these organizing roles. In Hungary itself, I'm sure there is not less history of this.

    It's not difficult to organize this mission in a hundred more sensible ways, which would not have created the need for such PR aftermath.

    Simply, if you have incompetent people working in an agency, then you will get often an incompetent mission. And use of "cool" technology, toys and weapons, is part of this clowning.

    If these commanders are working in a competitive, open free market, in private sector, their companies would more likely be bankrupt under organization incompetence and they would not be commanders very long. But in government and military, as in all places with too much state power, you're getting often time stupider and stupider people going higher and higher.

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  27. El Dato says:

    Tinfoil hat theory: the Americans are using something to damage the decision-making of the Russian leadership. Some kind of biological weapon affecting their brains

    Unfortunately it escaped in the 90s, the doofuization of practically everyone is evident.

    Read More
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  28. Mitleser says:
    @reiner Tor
    As much as the Russian elite likes being sanctioned.

    There is nobody alive who remembers the times when Russia was not sanctioned one way or another.

    Read More
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  29. Dmitry says:

    Almost all, normal special services around the world are fighting their own traitor agents. Their mission was something trivial – all the problem is in stupid planning , and even comedic PR aftermath.

    It feels like total lack of care and effort in the PR area.

    They made no effort to hide these guys’ military personality and attitude.

    Their commanders should at least prepare them before interviews so they don’t look like they live in a military base. They could at least afford to give them suitable clothes and not regulation haircuts, so they would resemble any kind of bourgeois people who actually travel thousands of kilometers to visit cathedral cities on the other end of the continent.

    Surely their commanders are not so uncultured, that they at least don’t know what architecture and cathedral aficionados look like. Really, probably just laziness and incompetence.

    I wonder who has the initial idea to expose GRU agents to international ridicule. RT?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Tyrion 2
    Why couldn't they rent a car?

    Don't they know about UK CCTV?

    Who needs a recce to spray something on a doorknob?

    Can't they use Google Maps Street View?

    Couldn't they have sent someone else for the recce?

    How about touring England the week before - to construct some sort of believable cover story?

    Why pick the weekend when Ms Skripal is visiting from Russia?

    Why use Novichok...not just a hit and run?

    Why even kill the bloke? And at that time? And fail?

    Why have the TV interview?

    Why stay in East London?

    Why look like Russian goons out of Hollywood central casting?

    Why fail to dispose of the weapon?

    Tweedle Dee and Dum's behaviour better fits two operatives going to Salisbury to do something mundane.

    But if that were the case the Russians would be best off just admitting it.

    This story is not over. God knows what will out.
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  30. El Dato says:
    @reiner Tor
    They did the barest minimum which they had to do unless they wanted to openly accuse the British government of lying. I mean, a government uses chemical weapons on European soil. Something has to be done if you believe it happened. So the Germans did the absolute minimum needed under such circumstances.

    They were neither tourists nor was it a GRU hit.
     
    They are definitely people who the Russian government in all its wisdom decided not to prosecute for the attempted murder of two Russian citizens with illegal chemical weapons. Even just possessing the chemical is a war crime in and of itself.

    Even just possessing the chemical is a war crime in and of itself.

    > No war going on.
    > Still a war crime.

    Sounds dubious, we are not in some weird cyberpunk novel. I’m sure it is “illegal to possess”…

    Read More
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  31. @Mitleser

    But now they provided evidence that two Russian guys visited Salisbury twice in the most suspicious manner at the time of the poisoning.
     
    Which suggests the need for more investigations, not more sanctions.

    There is enough evidence to put them in custody and make them suspects.
     
    Is there evidence that they are not already de facto in custody?

    Also ask the British for help and start cooperating with them.
     
    The British do not seem to want to cooperate, unless it allows to humiliate the Russian side and force themto accept the narrative of the British government.

    Which suggests the need for more investigations, not more sanctions.

    Russia is not investigating. It could easily announce it.

    Is there evidence that they are not already de facto in custody?

    They are not legally in custody, which is shown by the fact that they were allowed to go on TV.

    The British do not seem to want to cooperate, unless it allows to humiliate the Russian side and force themto accept the narrative of the British government.

    The British prime minister already in March provided a possible explanation about Russian chemical weapons falling into the hands of criminals. This is humiliating, but it happens sometimes, even in the USA anthrax found its way to a crazy guy. The Russians could have cooperated, if they weren’t the ones doing it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser

    Russia is not investigating.
     
    Not officially. We do not know what happens inofficially.
    A request for an official investigation can be made.

    The Russians could have cooperated, if they weren’t the ones doing it.
     
    If they had cooperated as the British demanded, they would not have given the option to prove their innocence.

    It would be a lose-lose situation.
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  32. Mitleser says:
    @reiner Tor

    Sanctions for what?

    Protecting these two guys?
     
    You pretend to be thick. If the Russian government had nothing to do with it, it would normally prosecute the attempted murder of two Russian citizens. Obviously, it has something to do with it. The Russian government is complicit in using chemical weapons on European soil. And this is the most charitable interpretation.

    Sanctions are based on politics
     
    And politics is based on mood of the public. I have already seen a meme of the two guys unable to walk because of the snow.

    If the Russian government had nothing to do with it, it would normally prosecute the attempted murder of two Russian citizens.

    They do not even have access to said citizens. It is not a normal situation, by any means.

    Obviously, it has something to do with it.

    Them knowing more than they are willing to admit can also mean that they know that these two guys are not responsible for what happened to the Skripals.
    In that case, prosecuting them is meaningless.

    And politics is based on mood of the public.

    Only partially.

    Read More
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  33. @reiner Tor
    As much as the Russian elite likes being sanctioned.

    They are being sanctioned for things like taking Crimea and bombing American-backed terrorists. It’s a trade-off every real Russian should be willing to make.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    And ridiculing yourself in front of the world with the Gypsy-level incompetence of your “elite” and “professional” intelligence services in exchange for sanctions - do you also enjoy it?

    Seriously, Gypsies lie like that when caught, unable to make up some credible explanation, but lying nevertheless. They have very low IQ, so that’s what they do.
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  34. @Felix Keverich
    They are being sanctioned for things like taking Crimea and bombing American-backed terrorists. It's a trade-off every real Russian should be willing to make.

    And ridiculing yourself in front of the world with the Gypsy-level incompetence of your “elite” and “professional” intelligence services in exchange for sanctions – do you also enjoy it?

    Seriously, Gypsies lie like that when caught, unable to make up some credible explanation, but lying nevertheless. They have very low IQ, so that’s what they do.

    Read More
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  35. Dmitry says:
    @reiner Tor

    Sanctions for what?

    Protecting these two guys?
     
    You pretend to be thick. If the Russian government had nothing to do with it, it would normally prosecute the attempted murder of two Russian citizens. Obviously, it has something to do with it. The Russian government is complicit in using chemical weapons on European soil. And this is the most charitable interpretation.

    Sanctions are based on politics
     
    And politics is based on mood of the public. I have already seen a meme of the two guys unable to walk because of the snow.

    A problem is a typical product of having some incompetent people in these organizing roles. In Hungary itself, I’m sure there is not less history of this.

    It’s not difficult to organize this mission in a hundred more sensible ways, which would not have created the need for such PR aftermath.

    Simply, if you have incompetent people working in an agency, then you will get often an incompetent mission. And use of “cool” technology, toys and weapons, is part of this clowning.

    If these commanders are working in a competitive, open free market, in private sector, their companies would more likely be bankrupt under organization incompetence and they would not be commanders very long. But in government and military, as in all places with too much state power, you’re getting often time stupider and stupider people going higher and higher.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    The incompetence of the murder attempt itself was extreme, many many errors, I could’ve organized it way better even though I have zero experience about organizing such hits and I didn’t spend a lot of time reading about things like that.

    But please note that there was a second major blunder, the interview itself. This requires that there are many more incompetent people working higher up, and not only in the intelligence services, but in the presidential administration etc.
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  36. Mitleser says:
    @reiner Tor

    Which suggests the need for more investigations, not more sanctions.
     
    Russia is not investigating. It could easily announce it.

    Is there evidence that they are not already de facto in custody?
     
    They are not legally in custody, which is shown by the fact that they were allowed to go on TV.

    The British do not seem to want to cooperate, unless it allows to humiliate the Russian side and force themto accept the narrative of the British government.
     
    The British prime minister already in March provided a possible explanation about Russian chemical weapons falling into the hands of criminals. This is humiliating, but it happens sometimes, even in the USA anthrax found its way to a crazy guy. The Russians could have cooperated, if they weren’t the ones doing it.

    Russia is not investigating.

    Not officially. We do not know what happens inofficially.
    A request for an official investigation can be made.

    The Russians could have cooperated, if they weren’t the ones doing it.

    If they had cooperated as the British demanded, they would not have given the option to prove their innocence.

    It would be a lose-lose situation.

    Read More
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  37. El Dato says:

    Maybe there is an imminent political purge coming?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser
    Aimed against who?
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  38. Mitleser says:
    @El Dato
    Maybe there is an imminent political purge coming?

    Aimed against who?

    Read More
    • Replies: @El Dato
    I wouldn't know. But this only makes sense as a big entrapment.
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  39. El Dato says:

    Oh, history repeating as a farce..

    In August 1971, the KGB allegedly made an attempt to assassinate Solzhenitsyn using an unknown biological agent (most likely ricin) with an experimental gel-based delivery method. The attempt left him seriously ill but was unsuccessful.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    I think we all probably underestimate the difficulty of pulling off these missions; killing the target is one thing, but the imperative to extract the operator (lest they fall into enemy hands and be subject to decades of solitary confinement/torture, inevitably resulting in the disclosure of state secrets) must severely limit the means available and make failure much more likely, if not the most likely outcome. The hundreds of failed anti-Castro plots by the CIA would be a good example of this.

    Additionally I think there may be a bit of a generation gap issue here: most of these intelligence agencies are headed by older baby boomers (people in their late 50s and up) who have not yet internalized the existence of the surveillance state. They just don't take into account that in a country like the UK everybody can be tracked from the moment they step off the plane until the moment they leave. Similar to the Israeli operation in Dubai; their exposure was predictable, and the resultant diplomatic row was in no way worth it for somebody who could have just as easily been killed with a car bomb (or whatever).
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  40. El Dato says:
    @Mitleser
    Aimed against who?

    I wouldn’t know. But this only makes sense as a big entrapment.

    Read More
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  41. They could still be independent dealers, “dietary supplements” making a delivery or collection for the purposes of assassination, who have done this, following arrest, to gain a lighter sentence but that’s unlikely. In which case, is the GRU really so incompetent? Did they just calculate that the agents would be out, Lugovoy style, before it mattered? I suspect they are agents and the GRU didn’t care. Steele won’t say much now. Warning others like Steele has tonhave been the plan. Killing the Donbass leadership and not leaving clues wasn’t done by idiots.

    I spent yesterday pointing out the economic cost to the UK and Russia of these diplomatic spats in lost trade. $25 Bn. The taxes on that could pay for EU membership. Yesterday, it looked as though I was going to get a direct discussion with Liam Fox about the issue. This makes economic reconciliation between UK and Russia very difficult. Who benefits? Germany? The US? The US HASN’T lost trade with Russia to the same degree.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Matra
    The taxes on that could pay for EU membership

    Leaving the EU is about more important things than money.
    , @Dmitry
    UK were going to do as many sanctions as they have, anyway.

    I don't think it will make any difference at all, to anything - even these agents' pensions.

    In the end, all intelligence agencies punish traitors, and they have always done it, and they always will. I doubt the English are doing this any less than anyone else.

    It's part of business. And people who eventually betray, know this, when they enter to it.

    Even Skripal still being alive, is not taking away from the benefit of punishing him. He didn't enjoy the recent months for sure.

    Yet it was a virtuoso display of antiskill, and the PR management of this interview, with these two new characters to join the comedy and now become internationally famous symbols of incompetence - an appropriate finale.

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  42. Mitleser says:

    This is a puzzle where both sides, the British and Russian state are lying and do not want to the truth revealed, hence the isolation of Skripals and the not-so credible story of these guys.

    So far then, what has been presented in public is a case built on secret administrative processes and secret warrants signed by a prosecutor. The Prime Minister has provided one interpretation of the evidence. This may be the correct one. The burden of proof in criminal cases is on the Crown; so far the Prime Minister has avoided it.

    The judicial test, if there ever will be one, would require the police and prosecutors to answer questions about the reasonableness of their evidence. The standard required in British law for conviction of the criminal offences alleged in this case is proof beyond reasonable doubt. The lesser standard of proof for civil litigation is the preponderance of the evidence or the balance of probabilities.

    If the case presented in parliament yesterday had been presented to a judge, the looser standard might have sufficed for the issue of the warrant. The stricter standard would be required for a trial and conviction. The procedure adopted so far has avoided both standards and substituted advertising and public relations.

    http://johnhelmer.net/the-new-allegations-in-the-skripal-case-and-the-standard-of-proof/

    And so did the Russian government, it seems.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    After watching this interview with these two soldiers above, I feel there is not sense of mystery.

    Mission itself, is very normal, and something that many intelligence agencies around the world are doing, or want to do. "If you live with a sword, you die by a sword". (I think every traitor is aware when they enter into this business).

    The problem is it was organized and executed, by inadequate people in every way. (Human capital is not at James Bond level to say it mildly). Then you can add some bad luck, and overreaction.

    And then PR aftermath is managed with the same skill level as the mission organization itself. It's a skill level which should better be understood as "anti-skill". It is as far as possible distance from any concept of skill.

    The intention was not matched by skill level. When you see the human capital involved, then outcome it's not surprising.

    At least it provides today a lot of material for jokes.

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  43. Matra says:
    @Philip Owen
    They could still be independent dealers, "dietary supplements" making a delivery or collection for the purposes of assassination, who have done this, following arrest, to gain a lighter sentence but that's unlikely. In which case, is the GRU really so incompetent? Did they just calculate that the agents would be out, Lugovoy style, before it mattered? I suspect they are agents and the GRU didn't care. Steele won't say much now. Warning others like Steele has tonhave been the plan. Killing the Donbass leadership and not leaving clues wasn't done by idiots.

    I spent yesterday pointing out the economic cost to the UK and Russia of these diplomatic spats in lost trade. $25 Bn. The taxes on that could pay for EU membership. Yesterday, it looked as though I was going to get a direct discussion with Liam Fox about the issue. This makes economic reconciliation between UK and Russia very difficult. Who benefits? Germany? The US? The US HASN'T lost trade with Russia to the same degree.

    The taxes on that could pay for EU membership

    Leaving the EU is about more important things than money.

    Read More
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  44. Dmitry says:
    @Mitleser
    This is a puzzle where both sides, the British and Russian state are lying and do not want to the truth revealed, hence the isolation of Skripals and the not-so credible story of these guys.

    So far then, what has been presented in public is a case built on secret administrative processes and secret warrants signed by a prosecutor. The Prime Minister has provided one interpretation of the evidence. This may be the correct one. The burden of proof in criminal cases is on the Crown; so far the Prime Minister has avoided it.

    The judicial test, if there ever will be one, would require the police and prosecutors to answer questions about the reasonableness of their evidence. The standard required in British law for conviction of the criminal offences alleged in this case is proof beyond reasonable doubt. The lesser standard of proof for civil litigation is the preponderance of the evidence or the balance of probabilities.

    If the case presented in parliament yesterday had been presented to a judge, the looser standard might have sufficed for the issue of the warrant. The stricter standard would be required for a trial and conviction. The procedure adopted so far has avoided both standards and substituted advertising and public relations.
     
    http://johnhelmer.net/the-new-allegations-in-the-skripal-case-and-the-standard-of-proof/

    And so did the Russian government, it seems.

    After watching this interview with these two soldiers above, I feel there is not sense of mystery.

    Mission itself, is very normal, and something that many intelligence agencies around the world are doing, or want to do. “If you live with a sword, you die by a sword”. (I think every traitor is aware when they enter into this business).

    The problem is it was organized and executed, by inadequate people in every way. (Human capital is not at James Bond level to say it mildly). Then you can add some bad luck, and overreaction.

    And then PR aftermath is managed with the same skill level as the mission organization itself. It’s a skill level which should better be understood as “anti-skill”. It is as far as possible distance from any concept of skill.

    The intention was not matched by skill level. When you see the human capital involved, then outcome it’s not surprising.

    At least it provides today a lot of material for jokes.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Lot
    I think this is the best explanation.

    A lot of irrational behavior abroad is best explained by domestic politics. For example, Iran's constant provocations of Israel and the USA and costly involvement in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq.
    , @Mitleser
    The traitor was already punished.
    He was not punished more because he was still useful.
    And suddenly they put vengeance above usefulness despite him being a potential asset again?
    , @Mikhail
    On the subject of James Bond and Gays, Mercouris noted (in the linked Duran video which I posted at this thread), that there're two homosexual assassins in Diamonds Are Forever.
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  45. Lot says:
    @reiner Tor
    For the record, even if Assad is “murdering its own people with chemical weapons,” he’s still the lesser evil. So Russia is correct to support it.

    But this Skripal affair certainly created a serious credibility problem for Russia. How can you believe what Russians say now? More seriously, how can you believe they even understand what they are doing or saying? It’s like when my three year old daughter says something she heard on TV: you cannot be sure she even understands what she is saying.

    Tinfoil hat theory: the Americans are using something to damage the decision-making of the Russian leadership. Some kind of biological weapon affecting their brains.

    “Some kind of biological weapon affecting their brains.”

    LSD can be absorbed through the skin and is nearly impossible to detect in blood.

    Read More
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  46. Lot says:
    @Dmitry
    After watching this interview with these two soldiers above, I feel there is not sense of mystery.

    Mission itself, is very normal, and something that many intelligence agencies around the world are doing, or want to do. "If you live with a sword, you die by a sword". (I think every traitor is aware when they enter into this business).

    The problem is it was organized and executed, by inadequate people in every way. (Human capital is not at James Bond level to say it mildly). Then you can add some bad luck, and overreaction.

    And then PR aftermath is managed with the same skill level as the mission organization itself. It's a skill level which should better be understood as "anti-skill". It is as far as possible distance from any concept of skill.

    The intention was not matched by skill level. When you see the human capital involved, then outcome it's not surprising.

    At least it provides today a lot of material for jokes.

    I think this is the best explanation.

    A lot of irrational behavior abroad is best explained by domestic politics. For example, Iran’s constant provocations of Israel and the USA and costly involvement in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser

    A lot of irrational behavior abroad is best explained by domestic politics. For example, Iran’s constant provocations of Israel
     
    How does it explain best?
    You can easily explain it with Iran's foreign policy, the need to gain and support supporters abroad and make the Islamic Republic of Iran less isolated (in the Islamic world).
    , @neutral

    and costly involvement in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq
     
    Indeed, what is the reason for the costly US involvement in those places? Of course now you are going to argue with a straight face (this is what you jews always do) that it has nothing to do with Israel, and nothing to do with the jews at all.
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  47. Dmitry says:
    @Philip Owen
    They could still be independent dealers, "dietary supplements" making a delivery or collection for the purposes of assassination, who have done this, following arrest, to gain a lighter sentence but that's unlikely. In which case, is the GRU really so incompetent? Did they just calculate that the agents would be out, Lugovoy style, before it mattered? I suspect they are agents and the GRU didn't care. Steele won't say much now. Warning others like Steele has tonhave been the plan. Killing the Donbass leadership and not leaving clues wasn't done by idiots.

    I spent yesterday pointing out the economic cost to the UK and Russia of these diplomatic spats in lost trade. $25 Bn. The taxes on that could pay for EU membership. Yesterday, it looked as though I was going to get a direct discussion with Liam Fox about the issue. This makes economic reconciliation between UK and Russia very difficult. Who benefits? Germany? The US? The US HASN'T lost trade with Russia to the same degree.

    UK were going to do as many sanctions as they have, anyway.

    I don’t think it will make any difference at all, to anything – even these agents’ pensions.

    In the end, all intelligence agencies punish traitors, and they have always done it, and they always will. I doubt the English are doing this any less than anyone else.

    It’s part of business. And people who eventually betray, know this, when they enter to it.

    Even Skripal still being alive, is not taking away from the benefit of punishing him. He didn’t enjoy the recent months for sure.

    Yet it was a virtuoso display of antiskill, and the PR management of this interview, with these two new characters to join the comedy and now become internationally famous symbols of incompetence – an appropriate finale.

    Read More
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  48. Mitleser says:
    @Dmitry
    After watching this interview with these two soldiers above, I feel there is not sense of mystery.

    Mission itself, is very normal, and something that many intelligence agencies around the world are doing, or want to do. "If you live with a sword, you die by a sword". (I think every traitor is aware when they enter into this business).

    The problem is it was organized and executed, by inadequate people in every way. (Human capital is not at James Bond level to say it mildly). Then you can add some bad luck, and overreaction.

    And then PR aftermath is managed with the same skill level as the mission organization itself. It's a skill level which should better be understood as "anti-skill". It is as far as possible distance from any concept of skill.

    The intention was not matched by skill level. When you see the human capital involved, then outcome it's not surprising.

    At least it provides today a lot of material for jokes.

    The traitor was already punished.
    He was not punished more because he was still useful.
    And suddenly they put vengeance above usefulness despite him being a potential asset again?

    Read More
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  49. Mitleser says:
    @Lot
    I think this is the best explanation.

    A lot of irrational behavior abroad is best explained by domestic politics. For example, Iran's constant provocations of Israel and the USA and costly involvement in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq.

    A lot of irrational behavior abroad is best explained by domestic politics. For example, Iran’s constant provocations of Israel

    How does it explain best?
    You can easily explain it with Iran’s foreign policy, the need to gain and support supporters abroad and make the Islamic Republic of Iran less isolated (in the Islamic world).

    Read More
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  50. Lot says:

    The story why they left Salisbury so quickly was a supposed massive snow storm, yet there is no little to no snow in the pictures. They said:

    “PETROV: No, initially we planned to go to London and have some fun there. This time, it wasn’t a business trip. Our plan was to spend some time in London and then to visit Salisbury. Of course, we wanted to do it all in one day. But when we got there, our plane couldn’t land on its first approach. That’s because of all the havoc they had with transport in the UK on March 2 and 3. There was heavy snowfall, nearly all the cities were paralyzed. We were unable to go anywhere.

    BOSHIROV: It was in all the news. Railroads didn’t work on March 2 and 3. Motorways were closed. Police cars and ambulances blocked off highways. There was no traffic at all – no trains, nothing. Why is it that nobody talks about any of this?”

    Actual weather March 2-4? “Light snow” and “light rain.”

    https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/uk/salisbury/historic?month=3&year=2018

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    • Replies: @El Dato
    I don't know about that picture, probably a cleared street after slight rain, but it was the time of the "Beast from the East". You may well find serious snowdrifts a bit outside

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_Great_Britain_and_Ireland_cold_wave

    Random YouTube from Leeds (central England) 2018-02-28

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4gYNVSf21k

    Craig Murray says:

    "Those mocking the idea that the pair were blocked by snow from visiting Stonehenge have pointed to the CCTV footage of central Salisbury not showing snow on the afternoon of 4 March. Well, that is central Salisbury, it had of course been salted and cleared. Outside there were drifts."

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  51. Max Payne says:

    What’s so suspicious about this?

    This is a perfectly normal reaction innocent (possibly gay) individuals would have when realizing they’ve been accused of something of this magnitude. Frustrated, confused, trying to get the whole story out but also afraid of saying the wrong things and being spun.

    I’m sure being guys heavy into supplements they may have done some shady things here and there and are genuinely afraid of shining light on that.

    Possibly selling steroids or kits to bypass performance-enhancing substance tests. Maybe to even well-known athletes.

    Bad timing on their part is all.

    Read More
    • Replies: @ValmMond
    They might be gay. But in this case, they are certainly not GRU assassins on a mission.
    Russian secret services sift out the wheat from shaft (so to speak). Even in the rare instances where homosexuality is not a symptom of underlying mental instability, it poses allegiances and impulse-control problems.
    , @Antiwar7
    Exactly. A planned appearance before the media, by secret services, would go much more smoothly, and would do retakes as necessary. The fact that it wasn't smooth is evidence that they're not guilty.
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  52. @reiner Tor
    And actually, I’m starting to believe that it’s actually really Assad behind those chemical weapons attacks, at least most of them. I don’t know why, but maybe for the same bizarre reasons they did this.

    Wow do you fold easily!

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  53. Jon0815 says:

    I doubt these guys really were just tourists, but their account actually fits their CCTV-established movements better than the UK’s theory of their guilt, which contains multiple improbable-seeming elements and timeline problems.

    After watching the interview, I’m even more certain than I was before that if GRU agents were responsible for the assassination attempt, it was a rogue operation. I’m also somewhat more inclined than before to think that the two suspects were there for some reason other than killing Skripal- in fact, if it weren’t for the reported novichok traces found in their hotel room, I’d be highly confident of it. The point about the perfume bottle was a good one: The GRU surely has some female members, so why not give the task of smuggling the novichok through Customs to a woman? The obvious answer is that either it was a rogue operation whose few members didn’t include any women, or the GRU wasn’t involved at all.

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  54. Beckow says:
    @reiner Tor

    London did not provide evidence to the German government.
     
    But now they provided evidence that two Russian guys visited Salisbury twice in the most suspicious manner at the time of the poisoning.

    And now the Russians also provided evidence that these two guys were definitely not tourists. They also provided evidence that these two guys are lying about why they were there.

    Why prosecute them if they have no reason to believe that it was true?
     
    There is enough evidence to put them in custody and make them suspects. They were there in the most suspicious manner, and both are lying about what they did there.

    The Russian government, if it was uninvolved, should now put them in custody and start the investigation against them. Also ask the British for help and start cooperating with them. Maybe that way they can still salvage their reputation.

    I hesitate to rain on the ‘this is a catastrophe‘ interpretation, but I have seen nothing that shows that these 2 fellows used a nerve agent on Skripals. Almost the opposite.

    Given that UK has conclusively shown that it had everything under surveillance, means that the fact that they have not released the actual video of these 2 guys (or anyone else) on Skripals’ street, doing the nasty with the door handle, undermines the case. They either don’t have it, or they are possible holding it back, but why? The street, and the house, were under surveillance. So what gives?

    these two guys were definitely not tourists

    It depends on what the definition of a ‘tourist’ is. I agree, they were not sight-seeing, or not primarily. Their sexual orientation seems obvious, and the UK visit looks like a certain kind of ‘tourism’, the one that would be hard for them to admit, but it might have nothing to do with the Skripals.

    Regarding the PR aspect: why does that matter so much? Truth is often clumsy, lies can be very sleek. If you stick 2 provincials, who have things to hide, on TV and put them under pressure, they will look awkward and evasive all the time. They were uncomfortable, but they don’t look like agents. Take 2 Yorkshire bumpkins who took a trip to Russia, stick them in a middle of an international spy story, scare them, and then watch what they say translated into another language, I doubt they would be convincing.

    I am starting to think that there is less to this. That all sides lied about something, but that not much happened. The cast doesn’t support a big story, and that includes the two sight-seeing ‘fitness’ fanatics. And Theresa May. We still don’t know what happened.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    From the interview, they seem just the most obvious soldiers/security forces - their personality, way they look, whole manner of these people, even their faces, is of some low level security force people (not intelligent versions).

    These are not gothic architecture fans. These morons are travelling thousands of kilometers for their love of cathedral architecture?

    These are people who if they try to be undercover cops, all the criminals would know they were police just from their faces.

    I think it's wrong angle however. Intelligence agencies punish traitors is happening by every country, all the time, without any discord.

    Problem here was some incompetence, combined with UK overdramatization, from the excuses for sanctions they have already planned for Russia.

    Other intelligence agencies of the world are doing the same actions all over the world, far more often, and without any media or political attention.

    Really noone should care about this, apart from the UK. It's "business as normal". Most major powers are doing these actions themselves, although maybe in the America they can afford to pay a high enough salary to hire people who are more like James Bond, and less like this embarrassing two.

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  55. Anonymous[277] • Disclaimer says:
    @El Dato
    Oh, history repeating as a farce..

    In August 1971, the KGB allegedly made an attempt to assassinate Solzhenitsyn using an unknown biological agent (most likely ricin) with an experimental gel-based delivery method. The attempt left him seriously ill but was unsuccessful.
     

    I think we all probably underestimate the difficulty of pulling off these missions; killing the target is one thing, but the imperative to extract the operator (lest they fall into enemy hands and be subject to decades of solitary confinement/torture, inevitably resulting in the disclosure of state secrets) must severely limit the means available and make failure much more likely, if not the most likely outcome. The hundreds of failed anti-Castro plots by the CIA would be a good example of this.

    Additionally I think there may be a bit of a generation gap issue here: most of these intelligence agencies are headed by older baby boomers (people in their late 50s and up) who have not yet internalized the existence of the surveillance state. They just don’t take into account that in a country like the UK everybody can be tracked from the moment they step off the plane until the moment they leave. Similar to the Israeli operation in Dubai; their exposure was predictable, and the resultant diplomatic row was in no way worth it for somebody who could have just as easily been killed with a car bomb (or whatever).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Tyrion 2
    Skripal wasn't in hiding though. That makes all the difference.
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  56. The lingering one of whether this GRU hit was a “private” criminal one, or ordered by Putin. (In all fairness, this is now of largely academic interest. The Kremlin have just painted a bulls-eye on themselves).

    Why do you assume it was the GRU? Could these two not have been sent to kill Skirpal by Russian civilians for private reasons?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean
    It was not just the exGRU man who was the target. If it was Russian gang bosses in Moscow who needed him dead and quick they would just have made a phone call and a Russian goon (there are more than a few of those in London) would have went to his house and shot him dead with a silenced pistol. If it was a revenge and not urgent they could have got him on one of his trips to London and tortured him for information then disappeared him, or if that was too difficult staged a mugging or a car accident or suicide .

    Going through passport control within days of the killing and then returning past the Special Branch and Mi5 in the airport after the attack with the security nowadays is a very, very unlikely way of getting away with anything for a criminal; much better to go to ground in London. Given MI5 might be alerted to know of a Russian connection before they could get to the airport, as Russians on an unusually short trip they could easily have been stopped, especially as they are both muscular and tough looking enough for men in their forties to be looked at twice. Paranoia is the criminal equivalent of intelligence and a gangster would not have taken such risks or needed to.

    Whoever sent them knew his daughter was there having just traveled from Russia for a visit. Quite possibly an unspoken intention was to kill not just him, but his daughter at the same time and in Britain. Trotsky founded the GRU and he Trotsky won the Civil War not with the advanced industrial proletariat (as he originally theorised ) but with Tsarist officers whose families were held hostage for their good behaviour. Russia cannot stop their people being attracted to Western money and the promise of being exchanged if they are caught, but the implied threat of their families being marked for death is something that would give anyone pause. The CIA has reported their Russian sources have went silent. Putin has no doubt congratulated the GRU on a successful operation.

    , @Mikhail
    Note that Putin said he's now aware of these two and that they didn't do any wrong, in addition to not being GRU.

    The burden of proof remains on the Brits.
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  57. @reiner Tor
    And actually, I’m starting to believe that it’s actually really Assad behind those chemical weapons attacks, at least most of them. I don’t know why, but maybe for the same bizarre reasons they did this.

    I thought the evidence of Syrian government culpability in the August 2013 chemical weapons attacks was strong ever since about a month after the incident. The April 2017 and 2018 attacks had less clear evidence to suggest they were committed by the Syrian government, but there was no strong evidence contradicting the US account of these, as far as I can remember.

    Read More
    • Replies: @El Dato

    but there was no strong evidence contradicting the US account of these, as far as I can remember.
     
    It's difficult to contradict an account that has been constructed by skilled info massagers.

    I remember that both events were purposeless, had inconsistent timelines and seemed mainly designed to trigger someone. But we are all suffering from event overload.
    , @Mikhail

    I thought the evidence of Syrian government culpability in the August 2013 chemical weapons attacks was strong ever since about a month after the incident. The April 2017 and 2018 attacks had less clear evidence to suggest they were committed by the Syrian government, but there was no strong evidence contradicting the US account of these, as far as I can remember.
     
    No such strong evidence, unless influenced by neocon/neolib BS.
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  58. utu says:

    Russia must step up with counter narrative that is strong and aggressive:

    (1) This was a false flag assassination attempt (possibly a victimless hoax) organized by MI5 against Russia and Skripals were innocent patsies.

    (2) Petrov and Boshirov were lured to UK (read The Little Drummer Girl to learn how this can be done). Petrov and Boshirov are small time businessmen/crooks engaged in smuggling steroids and hormones were approached on their business trip to Switzerland to visit Salisbury for… gay sex orgy…Yes, they were innocent gays still in the closet because of Putin… who were taken advantaged of by unscrupulous British MI5.

    (3) Putin welcomes all gays to come out from the closets and legalizes gay sex orgies in Russia so innocent Russian citizens do not have to travel abroad where they could be risking being targeted by British MI5.

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  59. Carlo says:

    On the Skripal case, the best voice is surely Craig Murray:

    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/09/the-strange-russian-alibi/

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    • Replies: @Mishima Zaibatsu

    On the Skripal case, the best voice is surely Craig Murray:

    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/09/the-strange-russian-alibi/
     
    Yes! As someone who lives in England, and who saw the Craig Murray piece before coming here and reading the transcript, I found the men’s story to be absolutely plausible and do not understand most of the commenters’ ‘Game Over’ type attitude.

    The UK government’s story is far more fanciful and I would urge people to look at the evidence presented in Murray’s piece before making up their minds. Stonehenge was closed, public transport was all but non-functioning and the weather was a mess.
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  60. Magic Man says:
    @reiner Tor
    For the record, even if Assad is “murdering its own people with chemical weapons,” he’s still the lesser evil. So Russia is correct to support it.

    But this Skripal affair certainly created a serious credibility problem for Russia. How can you believe what Russians say now? More seriously, how can you believe they even understand what they are doing or saying? It’s like when my three year old daughter says something she heard on TV: you cannot be sure she even understands what she is saying.

    Tinfoil hat theory: the Americans are using something to damage the decision-making of the Russian leadership. Some kind of biological weapon affecting their brains.

    I can’t believe people are actually throwing in the towel and believing this. Just what is this supposed evidence supposed to prove? They found two guys who are sketchy, so that means they murdered someone? It doesn’t follow.

    Also, Germany does not avoid sanctions because of naivete or their alleged Russophillia (haha). It is likely that they saw this stuff months ago and sided with London, but because of their alliance, and not the credibility of Britain’s evidence. These severe sanctions have been in place for four years, so this is theater. The theater is intended to fuck up Russia’s finances since they so stubbornly refuse to bend the knee. The US empire is headed into oblivion, and this flailing about and attacking everyone is solid proof. Countries like South Korea, Japan, and Germany put the lie that association with the US guaranteed success, but why are there no post-Cold War miracles? Because there are no bullets left in the chamber.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    why are there no post-Cold War miracles
     
    Poland is doing great.
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  61. AP says:
    @Magic Man
    I can't believe people are actually throwing in the towel and believing this. Just what is this supposed evidence supposed to prove? They found two guys who are sketchy, so that means they murdered someone? It doesn't follow.

    Also, Germany does not avoid sanctions because of naivete or their alleged Russophillia (haha). It is likely that they saw this stuff months ago and sided with London, but because of their alliance, and not the credibility of Britain's evidence. These severe sanctions have been in place for four years, so this is theater. The theater is intended to fuck up Russia's finances since they so stubbornly refuse to bend the knee. The US empire is headed into oblivion, and this flailing about and attacking everyone is solid proof. Countries like South Korea, Japan, and Germany put the lie that association with the US guaranteed success, but why are there no post-Cold War miracles? Because there are no bullets left in the chamber.

    why are there no post-Cold War miracles

    Poland is doing great.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Magic Man
    Poland is about Turkey's level. PiS will keep it soaring more than it would under PO, but it will get caught in the debt trap, when the West have had enough of Kaczyński. It doesn't have a globalized economy, being an appendage of the German one.
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  62. Sean says:
    @Cagey Beast
    The lingering one of whether this GRU hit was a “private” criminal one, or ordered by Putin. (In all fairness, this is now of largely academic interest. The Kremlin have just painted a bulls-eye on themselves).

    Why do you assume it was the GRU? Could these two not have been sent to kill Skirpal by Russian civilians for private reasons?

    https://twitter.com/yashalevine/status/1040402192501366784

    It was not just the exGRU man who was the target. If it was Russian gang bosses in Moscow who needed him dead and quick they would just have made a phone call and a Russian goon (there are more than a few of those in London) would have went to his house and shot him dead with a silenced pistol. If it was a revenge and not urgent they could have got him on one of his trips to London and tortured him for information then disappeared him, or if that was too difficult staged a mugging or a car accident or suicide .

    Going through passport control within days of the killing and then returning past the Special Branch and Mi5 in the airport after the attack with the security nowadays is a very, very unlikely way of getting away with anything for a criminal; much better to go to ground in London. Given MI5 might be alerted to know of a Russian connection before they could get to the airport, as Russians on an unusually short trip they could easily have been stopped, especially as they are both muscular and tough looking enough for men in their forties to be looked at twice. Paranoia is the criminal equivalent of intelligence and a gangster would not have taken such risks or needed to.

    Whoever sent them knew his daughter was there having just traveled from Russia for a visit. Quite possibly an unspoken intention was to kill not just him, but his daughter at the same time and in Britain. Trotsky founded the GRU and he Trotsky won the Civil War not with the advanced industrial proletariat (as he originally theorised ) but with Tsarist officers whose families were held hostage for their good behaviour. Russia cannot stop their people being attracted to Western money and the promise of being exchanged if they are caught, but the implied threat of their families being marked for death is something that would give anyone pause. The CIA has reported their Russian sources have went silent. Putin has no doubt congratulated the GRU on a successful operation.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Excellent point re: the presence of the daughter. That must be the explanation for the seemingly inopportune timing and haphazard nature of the operation. Still a big risk just to make a point (why not have her killed in Russia?), but I guess the "we will get you and yours wherever you may be" is an important message. If your penultimate sentence is correct, a valuable message too.
    , @Mikhail
    More believable that Skripal might've pissed off some Russian/former Soviet ex-pat in the UK who is anti-Putin.

    If true, it's matter of hitting two birds in one shot. It's also possible that Skripal didn't really piss off any Russian/former Soviet ex-pat. If so, he was seen as a kind of necessary collateral damage.
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  63. Magic Man says:
    @AP

    why are there no post-Cold War miracles
     
    Poland is doing great.

    Poland is about Turkey’s level. PiS will keep it soaring more than it would under PO, but it will get caught in the debt trap, when the West have had enough of Kaczyński. It doesn’t have a globalized economy, being an appendage of the German one.

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    • Replies: @AP
    In 1990 Poland's per capita GDP was $1,731 and Turkey's was $2,794.

    In 2017 Poland's GDP per capita nominal was $13,812 vs. Turkey's $10,541 (this was before Turkey's currency collapsed). GDP PPP was a lot closer - $29,291 Poland vs. $27,900 Turkey. Unemployment rate for Poland was 3.5%, vs. 10.3% in Turkey.

    Wages in Poland are more than double Turkey's in nominal terms, still considerably higher when adjusted for cost of living, $1,948 vs. $1,435.

    So that would qualify as a miracle. I think it's a similar story in the Czech Republic.
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  64. AP says:
    @Magic Man
    Poland is about Turkey's level. PiS will keep it soaring more than it would under PO, but it will get caught in the debt trap, when the West have had enough of Kaczyński. It doesn't have a globalized economy, being an appendage of the German one.

    In 1990 Poland’s per capita GDP was $1,731 and Turkey’s was $2,794.

    In 2017 Poland’s GDP per capita nominal was $13,812 vs. Turkey’s $10,541 (this was before Turkey’s currency collapsed). GDP PPP was a lot closer – $29,291 Poland vs. $27,900 Turkey. Unemployment rate for Poland was 3.5%, vs. 10.3% in Turkey.

    Wages in Poland are more than double Turkey’s in nominal terms, still considerably higher when adjusted for cost of living, $1,948 vs. $1,435.

    So that would qualify as a miracle. I think it’s a similar story in the Czech Republic.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Magic Man
    You can't seriously compare Poland with South Korea. It is a regional economy on level with Turkey (a failure in waiting). The markets it has access to are limited.
    , @Dmitry
    Poland - it's just integration with EU common market, plus wealth transfers (cohesion funds). There's finally an advantage to living next to Germany.

    This is nothing like what happened in South Korea, where they dominate world markets with their own talents - producing LG, Samsung and Hyundai.

    Poland is the largest fund recipient in EU history - it's received over $140 billion of EU taxpayer transfers.

    If Ukraine was in same situation, it would be at same economic level as Poland.

    Numbers like $140 billion are really very large (far far more than Marshall Funding). But Poland is not only getting vast free infrastructure, science and education investment, but also being integrated with EU common market and huge trading bloc.

    EU is great for poor countries - but not for taxpayers of Germany, Finland, UK, etc.

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  65. Anonymous[277] • Disclaimer says:
    @Sean
    It was not just the exGRU man who was the target. If it was Russian gang bosses in Moscow who needed him dead and quick they would just have made a phone call and a Russian goon (there are more than a few of those in London) would have went to his house and shot him dead with a silenced pistol. If it was a revenge and not urgent they could have got him on one of his trips to London and tortured him for information then disappeared him, or if that was too difficult staged a mugging or a car accident or suicide .

    Going through passport control within days of the killing and then returning past the Special Branch and Mi5 in the airport after the attack with the security nowadays is a very, very unlikely way of getting away with anything for a criminal; much better to go to ground in London. Given MI5 might be alerted to know of a Russian connection before they could get to the airport, as Russians on an unusually short trip they could easily have been stopped, especially as they are both muscular and tough looking enough for men in their forties to be looked at twice. Paranoia is the criminal equivalent of intelligence and a gangster would not have taken such risks or needed to.

    Whoever sent them knew his daughter was there having just traveled from Russia for a visit. Quite possibly an unspoken intention was to kill not just him, but his daughter at the same time and in Britain. Trotsky founded the GRU and he Trotsky won the Civil War not with the advanced industrial proletariat (as he originally theorised ) but with Tsarist officers whose families were held hostage for their good behaviour. Russia cannot stop their people being attracted to Western money and the promise of being exchanged if they are caught, but the implied threat of their families being marked for death is something that would give anyone pause. The CIA has reported their Russian sources have went silent. Putin has no doubt congratulated the GRU on a successful operation.

    Excellent point re: the presence of the daughter. That must be the explanation for the seemingly inopportune timing and haphazard nature of the operation. Still a big risk just to make a point (why not have her killed in Russia?), but I guess the “we will get you and yours wherever you may be” is an important message. If your penultimate sentence is correct, a valuable message too.

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  66. Magic Man says:
    @AP
    In 1990 Poland's per capita GDP was $1,731 and Turkey's was $2,794.

    In 2017 Poland's GDP per capita nominal was $13,812 vs. Turkey's $10,541 (this was before Turkey's currency collapsed). GDP PPP was a lot closer - $29,291 Poland vs. $27,900 Turkey. Unemployment rate for Poland was 3.5%, vs. 10.3% in Turkey.

    Wages in Poland are more than double Turkey's in nominal terms, still considerably higher when adjusted for cost of living, $1,948 vs. $1,435.

    So that would qualify as a miracle. I think it's a similar story in the Czech Republic.

    You can’t seriously compare Poland with South Korea. It is a regional economy on level with Turkey (a failure in waiting). The markets it has access to are limited.

    Read More
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  67. Not Raul says:

    Off topic:

    The Turks caught some guy in Syria

    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-intelligence-nabs-terror-suspect-in-syrias-latakia-136747

    The Turkish government claims that a terrorist bombing that took place in Turkey a few years ago was facilitated by the Syrian government.

    The story doesn’t seem likely; but who knows.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Londonbob
    False flags like this and the Skripals happen all too often.

    So these two homos were randomly fitted up for the Skripal false flag. This is too funny, brilliant. Craig Murray ain't wrong. Some of you posters really don't understand how Western intelligence agencies work, Murray certainly does.
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  68. Dmitry says:
    @AP
    In 1990 Poland's per capita GDP was $1,731 and Turkey's was $2,794.

    In 2017 Poland's GDP per capita nominal was $13,812 vs. Turkey's $10,541 (this was before Turkey's currency collapsed). GDP PPP was a lot closer - $29,291 Poland vs. $27,900 Turkey. Unemployment rate for Poland was 3.5%, vs. 10.3% in Turkey.

    Wages in Poland are more than double Turkey's in nominal terms, still considerably higher when adjusted for cost of living, $1,948 vs. $1,435.

    So that would qualify as a miracle. I think it's a similar story in the Czech Republic.

    Poland – it’s just integration with EU common market, plus wealth transfers (cohesion funds). There’s finally an advantage to living next to Germany.

    This is nothing like what happened in South Korea, where they dominate world markets with their own talents – producing LG, Samsung and Hyundai.

    Poland is the largest fund recipient in EU history – it’s received over $140 billion of EU taxpayer transfers.

    If Ukraine was in same situation, it would be at same economic level as Poland.

    Numbers like $140 billion are really very large (far far more than Marshall Funding). But Poland is not only getting vast free infrastructure, science and education investment, but also being integrated with EU common market and huge trading bloc.

    EU is great for poor countries – but not for taxpayers of Germany, Finland, UK, etc.

    Read More
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  69. Dmitry says:
    @Beckow
    I hesitate to rain on the 'this is a catastrophe' interpretation, but I have seen nothing that shows that these 2 fellows used a nerve agent on Skripals. Almost the opposite.

    Given that UK has conclusively shown that it had everything under surveillance, means that the fact that they have not released the actual video of these 2 guys (or anyone else) on Skripals' street, doing the nasty with the door handle, undermines the case. They either don't have it, or they are possible holding it back, but why? The street, and the house, were under surveillance. So what gives?

    these two guys were definitely not tourists
     
    It depends on what the definition of a 'tourist' is. I agree, they were not sight-seeing, or not primarily. Their sexual orientation seems obvious, and the UK visit looks like a certain kind of 'tourism', the one that would be hard for them to admit, but it might have nothing to do with the Skripals.

    Regarding the PR aspect: why does that matter so much? Truth is often clumsy, lies can be very sleek. If you stick 2 provincials, who have things to hide, on TV and put them under pressure, they will look awkward and evasive all the time. They were uncomfortable, but they don't look like agents. Take 2 Yorkshire bumpkins who took a trip to Russia, stick them in a middle of an international spy story, scare them, and then watch what they say translated into another language, I doubt they would be convincing.

    I am starting to think that there is less to this. That all sides lied about something, but that not much happened. The cast doesn't support a big story, and that includes the two sight-seeing 'fitness' fanatics. And Theresa May. We still don't know what happened.

    From the interview, they seem just the most obvious soldiers/security forces – their personality, way they look, whole manner of these people, even their faces, is of some low level security force people (not intelligent versions).

    These are not gothic architecture fans. These morons are travelling thousands of kilometers for their love of cathedral architecture?

    These are people who if they try to be undercover cops, all the criminals would know they were police just from their faces.

    I think it’s wrong angle however. Intelligence agencies punish traitors is happening by every country, all the time, without any discord.

    Problem here was some incompetence, combined with UK overdramatization, from the excuses for sanctions they have already planned for Russia.

    Other intelligence agencies of the world are doing the same actions all over the world, far more often, and without any media or political attention.

    Really noone should care about this, apart from the UK. It’s “business as normal”. Most major powers are doing these actions themselves, although maybe in the America they can afford to pay a high enough salary to hire people who are more like James Bond, and less like this embarrassing two.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Beckow
    They seem like a lot of things: possibly low level security guys, fitness and nutrition 'entrepreneurs', smugglers or couriers of some kind, hired help for some intimacy, etc... I can't read them, but I agree that medieval architecture doesn't look like their thing.

    The problem with assuming that they were there to eliminate Skripals is the method. You cannot use a nerve agent, and if they were the assassins, it follows that some nerve-chemical substance was used. And then you have a huge problem for Russia. The second problem is Julia, she just flew in from Moscow, why would they go to Salisbury to kill her? Why not do it in Russia? Maybe she was caught up in it, but that would imply a level of incompetence that even in Russia should be rare.

    We don't have the full story. If you AI it, so many questions and loose ends pop up, so many 'facts' could be not true, that any rational analysis spits out that we are observing intertwined false narratives. My final point is that if the 2 guys put the nasty stuff on Skripals doorknob, they would be observed (Skripal was under constant surveillance) and we would be shown the pictures. The narrative of how they supposedly did it, doesn't add up - middle of the day, with no buffer time, on public street, and then going for fake sight-seeing. That's rich, or they just might be total idiots.

    , @Mikhail
    Not so according to Mercouris.
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  70. Twinkie says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    Possibly.

    But thanks to the Galactic Brains at RT, we now even have otherwise extremely "Russophile" people such as reiner Tor seriously reassessing who was behind the Syrian chemical weapons attacks.

    But thanks to the Galactic Brains at RT, we now even have otherwise extremely “Russophile” people such as reiner Tor seriously reassessing who was behind the Syrian chemical weapons attacks.

    I’ve grown much more “Russophilic” as of late, in part thanks to your blog. But this episode has made me question whether my growing Russophilia was, in fact, misguided and that my previous “Cold War” attitude might have been, indeed, more appropriate.

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  71. Poor guys. Not only the whole world feels entitled to mock perfectly innocent people and call them not only murderers, but faggots as well, but their own people don’t believe them either.

    I unironically suspect that 100% of what they said is true, including that they are not gay.

    Now they have to explain themselves to random people who demand that their personal life is not believable enough. Putin is at fault though, he should not have told them to come out. They don’t owe explanations to anybody.

    I know plenty of guys exactly like themselves. Going to London for something and taking a 1 day trip to some small town to see a cathedral is the most normal thing in the world (not to mention Stonehenge and Old Sarum nearby). The English countryside is really nice, I have done similar things myself more than once.

    Maybe if you are some anglo troglodyte who has degenerated so much that he can’t even appreciate what’s left by his own ancestors, you would be amused that someone wanted to visit Sailsbury cathedral (which even a nigger like JayZ found interesting enough).
    But in any case I know plenty of people who look like these two, who have similarly plebeian employment/business like those two (fitness supplements lol) and who are still pretty happy to look at gothic buildings in the English countryside when the opportunity arises.

    Also where are the pictures from the Skripal house, which has cameras?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Yevardian
    As someone familiar with our part of the world, this strikes me as dubious. As reiner tor mentioned, these men do not have the physiognomy for fans of Medieval Architecture.
    People know I usually vehemently disagree with Akarlin on these sort of topics, but in this case I have to concede: the total incompetence of the Russian government in this instance is breathtaking.

    Moreover, I'm sure more Russophiles will feel like stooges having publically ridiculed this earlier, which in fairness, looked very different at that point.
    , @Dmitry
    It's true millions of people are admiring gothic architecture and visiting cultural sites. And we learn, even Jay Z can be the man of culture.

    But these two morons? Lol, they are on cultural pilgramage for gothic architecture?

    Everything about them is of soldiers/police/security, on the lower intelligence and cultural scale.

    If I bought a bag of a cannabis, in the street, and see these two guys walking past me. I'll say immediately - "fuck there's police here".

    , @Kinez

    I know plenty of guys exactly like themselves. Going to London for something and taking a 1 day trip to some small town to see a cathedral is the most normal thing in the world (not to mention Stonehenge and Old Sarum nearby). The English countryside is really nice, I have done similar things myself more than once.

    Maybe if you are some anglo troglodyte who has degenerated so much that he can’t even appreciate what’s left by his own ancestors, you would be amused that someone wanted to visit Sailsbury cathedral (which even a nigger like JayZ found interesting enough).
    But in any case I know plenty of people who look like these two, who have similarly plebeian employment/business like those two (fitness supplements lol) and who are still pretty happy to look at gothic buildings in the English countryside when the opportunity arises.
     
    Exactly this. There are plenty of well-educated people (in the fullest sense) who are running some unremarkable business simply as a way to make money, not as any particular expression of their inner essence or cultural outlook; especially so in countries which aren't overflowing with well-paid, engaging jobs. Conversely, there are plenty of people in professional jobs who are tasteless and vulgar, with no interest in high culture, just spending their free time engaging in tasteful banter in wine bars.

    I know plenty of people with a "thuggish physiognomy", whose dress sense is Balkan casual, who are doing menial jobs, who nonetheless are quite well-read, enjoy visiting beautiful buildings and churches, museums, nature spots, who like classical music, who enjoy discussions about history, society, philosophy etc etc. And why not? Only in England is the national pastime drinking until incapacitated on Fridays and Saturdays, with rare five-minute bouts of drunken sex with some girl they picked up down the pub. In civilised countries you rarely see public drunkeness and people drinking to get blind drunk.

    Also, I have no idea why you'd assume these guys are gay. Two friends travelling together = GAY! Wtf?! Public acceptance of homosexuality really does have an effect on the perception of close male friendships I suppose.
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  72. 5371 says:

    Imagine being Karlin (being reiner Tor is too stupid to even be imagined). By your own account, you just came to believe that the Skripals were poisoned by GRU, exactly as those honest Britties said. Presumably swallowing the whole dump of nonsense about smeared doorknob, abandoned bottle, miracle recovery, Yulia Skripal turning from land whale into supermodel and so on. Which would strain the credulity of a chatbot, but let’s ignore that for the moment.
    Believing that, you then go a step further and don’t even question the idea that the attack was a result of what Skripal did twenty years ago. Completely ignoring the evidence of his association with people involved in the anti-Trump dossier, the notorious Pablo Miller, who cannot be mentioned in the bongster press, the proximity of Porton Down, et cetera. You treat this completely as some kind of PR event with a bunch of journalists giggling to each other, accept unreservedly the framing of the British security services. And then it’s back to whining about kremlins. Amazing.

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    • Replies: @utu

    You treat this completely as some kind of PR event
     
    That's the way it suppose to be treated and Russia is failing on this front. Russia should deny and accuse pointing finger at UK and MI5 that it was a false flag hoax. But after Petrov and Boshirov was put into the picture much better story should be produced than what was done by RT or whoever did the interview with them.
    , @Yevardian
    reiner tor is one of the better commenters here. German_reader was alright until Ron Unz triggered a relapse response and he reverted to his state-conditioning.
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  73. @Dmitry
    A problem is a typical product of having some incompetent people in these organizing roles. In Hungary itself, I'm sure there is not less history of this.

    It's not difficult to organize this mission in a hundred more sensible ways, which would not have created the need for such PR aftermath.

    Simply, if you have incompetent people working in an agency, then you will get often an incompetent mission. And use of "cool" technology, toys and weapons, is part of this clowning.

    If these commanders are working in a competitive, open free market, in private sector, their companies would more likely be bankrupt under organization incompetence and they would not be commanders very long. But in government and military, as in all places with too much state power, you're getting often time stupider and stupider people going higher and higher.

    The incompetence of the murder attempt itself was extreme, many many errors, I could’ve organized it way better even though I have zero experience about organizing such hits and I didn’t spend a lot of time reading about things like that.

    But please note that there was a second major blunder, the interview itself. This requires that there are many more incompetent people working higher up, and not only in the intelligence services, but in the presidential administration etc.

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    • Agree: Yevardian
    • Replies: @Jon0815

    The incompetence of the murder attempt itself was extreme, many many errors, I could’ve organized it way better even though I have zero experience about organizing such hits and I didn’t spend a lot of time reading about things like that.
     
    What about the attempt was clearly incompetent, as opposed to a challenge to Putin's authority that was intended to embarrass him and poison relations with the West? Arranging for someone to absorb a lethal dose of a particular exotic chemical, is much more difficult than simply shooting them or blowing them up with a car bomb. Possibly the reason the novichok wasn't very deadly, is that it was an old or even homemade sample, the result of the limited resources available to a conspiracy involving only a handful of low-level people. And they may not have even cared very much if they actually killed Skripal.

    The best evidence of incompetence, is that the suspects apparently made zero effort to avoid being identifiable via CCTV. That is quite strange, because presumably, even while trying to incriminate their own government, they would not have wanted to incriminate themselves personally. So why not arrive via a flight from a third country, weeks before the attack? But this can also be explained by the suspects not being involved in the assassination attempt.


    But please note that there was a second major blunder, the interview itself. This requires that there are many more incompetent people working higher up, and not only in the intelligence services, but in the presidential administration etc.
     
    I don't agree that this was some great PR disaster. But even if it was, PR blunders are made by Western politicians all the time. It's hardly persuasive evidence that Putin is the sort of lunatic who would invest $10 billion in the World Cup in order to improve Russia's image, and then decide to throw all that effort away, even risk boycotts of the event, in order to kill some unimportant person a few weeks beforehand, in a manner that incriminates himself as much as possible. That's complete irrationality, not an ordinary case of bad judgement.
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  74. @Carlo
    On the Skripal case, the best voice is surely Craig Murray:
    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/09/the-strange-russian-alibi/

    On the Skripal case, the best voice is surely Craig Murray:

    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/09/the-strange-russian-alibi/

    Yes! As someone who lives in England, and who saw the Craig Murray piece before coming here and reading the transcript, I found the men’s story to be absolutely plausible and do not understand most of the commenters’ ‘Game Over’ type attitude.

    The UK government’s story is far more fanciful and I would urge people to look at the evidence presented in Murray’s piece before making up their minds. Stonehenge was closed, public transport was all but non-functioning and the weather was a mess.

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    • Replies: @Rattus Norwegius
    "Yes! As someone who lives in England, and who saw the Craig Murray piece before coming here and reading the transcript, I found the men’s story to be absolutely plausible and do not understand most of the commenters’ ‘Game Over’ type attitude."
    Why?
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  75. utu says:
    @5371
    Imagine being Karlin (being reiner Tor is too stupid to even be imagined). By your own account, you just came to believe that the Skripals were poisoned by GRU, exactly as those honest Britties said. Presumably swallowing the whole dump of nonsense about smeared doorknob, abandoned bottle, miracle recovery, Yulia Skripal turning from land whale into supermodel and so on. Which would strain the credulity of a chatbot, but let's ignore that for the moment.
    Believing that, you then go a step further and don't even question the idea that the attack was a result of what Skripal did twenty years ago. Completely ignoring the evidence of his association with people involved in the anti-Trump dossier, the notorious Pablo Miller, who cannot be mentioned in the bongster press, the proximity of Porton Down, et cetera. You treat this completely as some kind of PR event with a bunch of journalists giggling to each other, accept unreservedly the framing of the British security services. And then it's back to whining about kremlins. Amazing.

    You treat this completely as some kind of PR event

    That’s the way it suppose to be treated and Russia is failing on this front. Russia should deny and accuse pointing finger at UK and MI5 that it was a false flag hoax. But after Petrov and Boshirov was put into the picture much better story should be produced than what was done by RT or whoever did the interview with them.

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    • Replies: @5371
    I said so on this very blog well before the interview. It is playing a game for which your enemy can invent the rules as he goes along. The squalling of the bongs should simply have been ignored, like the temper tantrum of someone else's toddler.
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  76. 5371 says:
    @utu

    You treat this completely as some kind of PR event
     
    That's the way it suppose to be treated and Russia is failing on this front. Russia should deny and accuse pointing finger at UK and MI5 that it was a false flag hoax. But after Petrov and Boshirov was put into the picture much better story should be produced than what was done by RT or whoever did the interview with them.

    I said so on this very blog well before the interview. It is playing a game for which your enemy can invent the rules as he goes along. The squalling of the bongs should simply have been ignored, like the temper tantrum of someone else’s toddler.

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    • Replies: @utu
    No, you can't ignore it unfortunately. But you should not make it worse. You should react and attack. See my comment #58.
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  77. @reiner Tor

    London did not provide evidence to the German government.
     
    But now they provided evidence that two Russian guys visited Salisbury twice in the most suspicious manner at the time of the poisoning.

    And now the Russians also provided evidence that these two guys were definitely not tourists. They also provided evidence that these two guys are lying about why they were there.

    Why prosecute them if they have no reason to believe that it was true?
     
    There is enough evidence to put them in custody and make them suspects. They were there in the most suspicious manner, and both are lying about what they did there.

    The Russian government, if it was uninvolved, should now put them in custody and start the investigation against them. Also ask the British for help and start cooperating with them. Maybe that way they can still salvage their reputation.

    But now they provided evidence that two Russian guys visited Salisbury twice in the most suspicious manner at the time of the poisoning.

    You really think the British are stupid enough to set up a false flag operation without a decent fall guy to blame?

    Of course they timed the poisoning so a suitably suspicious suspect (in this case, suspects) is nearby. Use your brain!

    Second point: Putin said that these guys “did nothing so illegal”. Putin is careful with words and never lies. Read carefully now: he didn’t say they “were innocent”, he said they “did nothing so illegal”.

    Which means the duo are criminals, but not connected to the Skripal farce.

    They said in the interview that they are “small-time businessmen” in the “sports nutrition” business.

    Translation: they are small-time dealers for illegal or semi-legal drugs. They were in Britain for business, but of course they can’t come out and say they were there for a drug deal.

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    • Replies: @utu
    Whether it was so or not it is the story that Russia should stick to (see my comment #58). It is about stories not about the truth. Brits are much better at weaving them than Russians are so far.
    , @reiner Tor

    of course they can’t come out and say they were there for a drug deal.
     
    Why not? Petty criminals accused of murder often come out and confess to their smaller crimes just to avoid the murder charge. Some representative of Putin should quietly even assure them that they won't be prosecuted for the smaller crimes. Or that they would get a presidential pardon.
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  78. Londonbob says:
    @Not Raul
    Off topic:

    The Turks caught some guy in Syria

    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-intelligence-nabs-terror-suspect-in-syrias-latakia-136747

    The Turkish government claims that a terrorist bombing that took place in Turkey a few years ago was facilitated by the Syrian government.

    The story doesn't seem likely; but who knows.

    False flags like this and the Skripals happen all too often.

    So these two homos were randomly fitted up for the Skripal false flag. This is too funny, brilliant. Craig Murray ain’t wrong. Some of you posters really don’t understand how Western intelligence agencies work, Murray certainly does.

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    • Replies: @Not Raul
    I wouldn’t be surprised if the guy the Turks supposedly caught in Syria was actually caught somewhere else. As for his “confession”, the Turks could get a guy to confess to killing Lincoln if they wanted to.
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  79. Londonbob says:
    @reiner Tor
    And actually, I’m starting to believe that it’s actually really Assad behind those chemical weapons attacks, at least most of them. I don’t know why, but maybe for the same bizarre reasons they did this.

    Useful idiot.

    We already know thanks to Sy Hersh and his intel connections 2013 was done by the Turks. Obama confirmed this in his interview with the Atlantic. The OPCW has found no evidence in Douma and US military Intel leaked through the usual suspects like Giraldi, Pat Lang and Hersh that Khan Sheikhoun never happened either.

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  80. Londonbob says:
    @DreadIlk
    I like Sharij's theory. That it was a set up for Russian GRU. They showed up for something but then Skripals we're dropped on them. And now Russians can't just come out and say yeah we were there but not for Skripals.

    I think that is still a possibility. The government narrative is still farcical and something is being covered up.

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  81. I still don’t by London’s Skripal story, but it has to be admitted that this interview was a propaganda coup for the UK. There’s nothing directly linking these two guys to the Skripals, but they seem cagey about their “business” activities, which makes them look suspicious. They may well be FSB men who were lured to Salisbury, then set up to take the fall for a (near) murder. From the start, there were rumors going around that Sergei Skripal was unhappy in the UK and wanted to re-defect. Maybe that’s what lured the FSB there. If so, whoops!

    Get ready, Mitleser: you will soon be paying through the nose for fracked-gas from the US.

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    • Replies: @notanon

    From the start, there were rumors going around that Sergei Skripal was unhappy in the UK and wanted to re-defect.
     
    bait
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  82. Yevardian says:
    @Spisarevski
    Poor guys. Not only the whole world feels entitled to mock perfectly innocent people and call them not only murderers, but faggots as well, but their own people don't believe them either.

    I unironically suspect that 100% of what they said is true, including that they are not gay.

    Now they have to explain themselves to random people who demand that their personal life is not believable enough. Putin is at fault though, he should not have told them to come out. They don't owe explanations to anybody.

    I know plenty of guys exactly like themselves. Going to London for something and taking a 1 day trip to some small town to see a cathedral is the most normal thing in the world (not to mention Stonehenge and Old Sarum nearby). The English countryside is really nice, I have done similar things myself more than once.

    Maybe if you are some anglo troglodyte who has degenerated so much that he can't even appreciate what's left by his own ancestors, you would be amused that someone wanted to visit Sailsbury cathedral (which even a nigger like JayZ found interesting enough).
    But in any case I know plenty of people who look like these two, who have similarly plebeian employment/business like those two (fitness supplements lol) and who are still pretty happy to look at gothic buildings in the English countryside when the opportunity arises.

    Also where are the pictures from the Skripal house, which has cameras?

    As someone familiar with our part of the world, this strikes me as dubious. As reiner tor mentioned, these men do not have the physiognomy for fans of Medieval Architecture.
    People know I usually vehemently disagree with Akarlin on these sort of topics, but in this case I have to concede: the total incompetence of the Russian government in this instance is breathtaking.

    Moreover, I’m sure more Russophiles will feel like stooges having publically ridiculed this earlier, which in fairness, looked very different at that point.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Spisarevski
    My defense of them has nothing to do with russophilia.

    My position on Russians using chemical weapons on Anglos is the same as my position on the Holocaust - "it probably didn't happen, but it should have, I don't care either way".


    these men do not have the physiognomy for fans of Medieval Architecture.
     
    As mentioned, I know such people in real life. It's not something I can prove and there is no reason anyone should believe me, I'm just saying what is my reason for believing them 100%.
    , @reiner Tor

    I’m sure more Russophiles will feel like stooges having publically ridiculed this earlier, which in fairness, looked very different at that point.
     
    Of course. I was always careful not to totally exclude the "it's possible Russia did it out of incompetence or whatever other reason" explanation, but yeah, back in April I half (or more than half) convinced one of my friends that it's far from certain. Now next time I will have that much more difficult time convincing him of anything. ("Remember when you also thought we should doubt the official Atlanticist explanation for the Skripal case..?")

    Of course I'd like to be proven wrong on that issue now. So it'd be cool if Russia managed to make a convincing case that it wasn't them.
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  83. utu says:
    @5371
    I said so on this very blog well before the interview. It is playing a game for which your enemy can invent the rules as he goes along. The squalling of the bongs should simply have been ignored, like the temper tantrum of someone else's toddler.

    No, you can’t ignore it unfortunately. But you should not make it worse. You should react and attack. See my comment #58.

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  84. utu says:
    @anonymous coward

    But now they provided evidence that two Russian guys visited Salisbury twice in the most suspicious manner at the time of the poisoning.
     
    You really think the British are stupid enough to set up a false flag operation without a decent fall guy to blame?

    Of course they timed the poisoning so a suitably suspicious suspect (in this case, suspects) is nearby. Use your brain!

    Second point: Putin said that these guys "did nothing so illegal". Putin is careful with words and never lies. Read carefully now: he didn't say they "were innocent", he said they "did nothing so illegal".

    Which means the duo are criminals, but not connected to the Skripal farce.

    They said in the interview that they are "small-time businessmen" in the "sports nutrition" business.

    Translation: they are small-time dealers for illegal or semi-legal drugs. They were in Britain for business, but of course they can't come out and say they were there for a drug deal.

    Whether it was so or not it is the story that Russia should stick to (see my comment #58). It is about stories not about the truth. Brits are much better at weaving them than Russians are so far.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonymous coward

    Brits are much better at weaving them than Russians are so far.
     
    Really?

    a) The Skirpals were monitored by CCTV. Where are the incriminating videos?

    b) The "nerve agent" Novichok didn't manage to actually kill anyone. Why?

    But of course two bozos look nervous and have suspicious faces. That decisively proves they're guilty of murder. Lock them away! Case closed!

    Do you have the mind of a small child?

    (On second thought, strike that. Even the small children I know wouldn't accuse somebody of murder because they have suspicious-looking faces.)

    , @El Dato

    Brits are much better at weaving them than Russians are so far.
     
    Plus they own the media on their home turf.

    In the end, unconvinced that this is even about the Skripal poisoning at all.
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  85. Yevardian says:
    @5371
    Imagine being Karlin (being reiner Tor is too stupid to even be imagined). By your own account, you just came to believe that the Skripals were poisoned by GRU, exactly as those honest Britties said. Presumably swallowing the whole dump of nonsense about smeared doorknob, abandoned bottle, miracle recovery, Yulia Skripal turning from land whale into supermodel and so on. Which would strain the credulity of a chatbot, but let's ignore that for the moment.
    Believing that, you then go a step further and don't even question the idea that the attack was a result of what Skripal did twenty years ago. Completely ignoring the evidence of his association with people involved in the anti-Trump dossier, the notorious Pablo Miller, who cannot be mentioned in the bongster press, the proximity of Porton Down, et cetera. You treat this completely as some kind of PR event with a bunch of journalists giggling to each other, accept unreservedly the framing of the British security services. And then it's back to whining about kremlins. Amazing.

    reiner tor is one of the better commenters here. German_reader was alright until Ron Unz triggered a relapse response and he reverted to his state-conditioning.

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  86. El Dato says:
    @E. Harding
    I thought the evidence of Syrian government culpability in the August 2013 chemical weapons attacks was strong ever since about a month after the incident. The April 2017 and 2018 attacks had less clear evidence to suggest they were committed by the Syrian government, but there was no strong evidence contradicting the US account of these, as far as I can remember.

    but there was no strong evidence contradicting the US account of these, as far as I can remember.

    It’s difficult to contradict an account that has been constructed by skilled info massagers.

    I remember that both events were purposeless, had inconsistent timelines and seemed mainly designed to trigger someone. But we are all suffering from event overload.

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  87. @utu
    Whether it was so or not it is the story that Russia should stick to (see my comment #58). It is about stories not about the truth. Brits are much better at weaving them than Russians are so far.

    Brits are much better at weaving them than Russians are so far.

    Really?

    a) The Skirpals were monitored by CCTV. Where are the incriminating videos?

    b) The “nerve agent” Novichok didn’t manage to actually kill anyone. Why?

    But of course two bozos look nervous and have suspicious faces. That decisively proves they’re guilty of murder. Lock them away! Case closed!

    Do you have the mind of a small child?

    (On second thought, strike that. Even the small children I know wouldn’t accuse somebody of murder because they have suspicious-looking faces.)

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    What you think or believe is irrelevant. Nobody is interested in what you think. Even what is the truth is irrelevant. But what people believe is the truth matters. People believe the story presented by British media and Russian media are too incompetent to counteract it. Perhaps because they are naive and unsophisticated like you.
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  88. El Dato says:
    @Lot
    The story why they left Salisbury so quickly was a supposed massive snow storm, yet there is no little to no snow in the pictures. They said:

    "PETROV: No, initially we planned to go to London and have some fun there. This time, it wasn’t a business trip. Our plan was to spend some time in London and then to visit Salisbury. Of course, we wanted to do it all in one day. But when we got there, our plane couldn't land on its first approach. That’s because of all the havoc they had with transport in the UK on March 2 and 3. There was heavy snowfall, nearly all the cities were paralyzed. We were unable to go anywhere.

    BOSHIROV: It was in all the news. Railroads didn't work on March 2 and 3. Motorways were closed. Police cars and ambulances blocked off highways. There was no traffic at all – no trains, nothing. Why is it that nobody talks about any of this?"

    Actual weather March 2-4? "Light snow" and "light rain."

    https://img.rt.com/files/2018.09/original/5b9a56d7fc7e9316308b4572.jpg

    https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/uk/salisbury/historic?month=3&year=2018

    I don’t know about that picture, probably a cleared street after slight rain, but it was the time of the “Beast from the East”. You may well find serious snowdrifts a bit outside

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_Great_Britain_and_Ireland_cold_wave

    Random YouTube from Leeds (central England) 2018-02-28

    Craig Murray says:

    “Those mocking the idea that the pair were blocked by snow from visiting Stonehenge have pointed to the CCTV footage of central Salisbury not showing snow on the afternoon of 4 March. Well, that is central Salisbury, it had of course been salted and cleared. Outside there were drifts.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Gerard2

    Well, that is central Salisbury, it had of course been salted and cleared. Outside there were drifts.
     
    ...and it's clear from the "debunking" stills that they are main roads that have been thoroughtly gritted- you can the slush and snow remains.
    , @Lot
    OMG that looks like almost 2 inches! I am sure any Russian heterosexual male tourists/fitness consultant couple on a 50-hour Wintertime vacation to England would be completely deterred.
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  89. El Dato says:
    @utu
    Whether it was so or not it is the story that Russia should stick to (see my comment #58). It is about stories not about the truth. Brits are much better at weaving them than Russians are so far.

    Brits are much better at weaving them than Russians are so far.

    Plus they own the media on their home turf.

    In the end, unconvinced that this is even about the Skripal poisoning at all.

    Read More
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  90. @Yevardian
    As someone familiar with our part of the world, this strikes me as dubious. As reiner tor mentioned, these men do not have the physiognomy for fans of Medieval Architecture.
    People know I usually vehemently disagree with Akarlin on these sort of topics, but in this case I have to concede: the total incompetence of the Russian government in this instance is breathtaking.

    Moreover, I'm sure more Russophiles will feel like stooges having publically ridiculed this earlier, which in fairness, looked very different at that point.

    My defense of them has nothing to do with russophilia.

    My position on Russians using chemical weapons on Anglos is the same as my position on the Holocaust – “it probably didn’t happen, but it should have, I don’t care either way”.

    these men do not have the physiognomy for fans of Medieval Architecture.

    As mentioned, I know such people in real life. It’s not something I can prove and there is no reason anyone should believe me, I’m just saying what is my reason for believing them 100%.

    Read More
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  91. Gerard2 says:
    @El Dato
    I don't know about that picture, probably a cleared street after slight rain, but it was the time of the "Beast from the East". You may well find serious snowdrifts a bit outside

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_Great_Britain_and_Ireland_cold_wave

    Random YouTube from Leeds (central England) 2018-02-28

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4gYNVSf21k

    Craig Murray says:

    "Those mocking the idea that the pair were blocked by snow from visiting Stonehenge have pointed to the CCTV footage of central Salisbury not showing snow on the afternoon of 4 March. Well, that is central Salisbury, it had of course been salted and cleared. Outside there were drifts."

    Well, that is central Salisbury, it had of course been salted and cleared. Outside there were drifts.

    …and it’s clear from the “debunking” stills that they are main roads that have been thoroughtly gritted- you can the slush and snow remains.

    Read More
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  92. utu says:
    @anonymous coward

    Brits are much better at weaving them than Russians are so far.
     
    Really?

    a) The Skirpals were monitored by CCTV. Where are the incriminating videos?

    b) The "nerve agent" Novichok didn't manage to actually kill anyone. Why?

    But of course two bozos look nervous and have suspicious faces. That decisively proves they're guilty of murder. Lock them away! Case closed!

    Do you have the mind of a small child?

    (On second thought, strike that. Even the small children I know wouldn't accuse somebody of murder because they have suspicious-looking faces.)

    What you think or believe is irrelevant. Nobody is interested in what you think. Even what is the truth is irrelevant. But what people believe is the truth matters. People believe the story presented by British media and Russian media are too incompetent to counteract it. Perhaps because they are naive and unsophisticated like you.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonymous coward
    The entire British story rests on the fact that these bozos look like club bouncers and not like hipsters.

    Give them expensive t-shirts and skinny pants, and your "case" falls apart entirely.

    Does it not bother you that you're making judgments like an emotional teenage girl with hormone issues?

    The European so-called functioning adult is dumber and more naive than a Chinese toddler. That is the real issue that should be bother you, but of course you yourself are too dumb and too naive to even understand the words I wrote.

    This is the real real reason why Putin's apparatus doesn't even bother to work with Western public opinion. There's no opinion there to sway; the creatures you'd be trying to sway are barely even human, they have the self-awareness and critical thinking skills of a chatbot.
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  93. LondonBob says:

    The Israeli van guys were a lot more believable when they were on Israeli TV, but then they were lying.

    Spy vs spy stuff, maybe it is all a triple bluff. Anyway I haven’t seen any actual evidence to indicate what happened to the Skripals, and I doubt I ever will.

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  94. g2k says:

    RT being shut down might not be such a bad thing; it’s completely ineffective, probably why it hasn’t been shut down already. It has no sports or entertainment so the only viewers it attracts will be those already sympathetic. Not so long ago it used to produce half-decent, if a bit leftish, documentaries. What’s more, neoliberalism.txt has been able to enforce an effective boycott preventing any serious western political figures from going on it. Your taxes well spent AK?

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    • Replies: @LondonBob
    The calls to shut it down show it does concern people. RTUK could do with less limp wristed lefties but any alternative voices are welcome, already have enough issues with the serious attempts to shut down the internet. My Mum occasionally flicks on RT and the Syrian coverage has definitely impacted her, unfortunately not as much as her daily dose of neoconism from The Times has though.
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  95. neutral says:
    @Lot
    I think this is the best explanation.

    A lot of irrational behavior abroad is best explained by domestic politics. For example, Iran's constant provocations of Israel and the USA and costly involvement in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq.

    and costly involvement in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq

    Indeed, what is the reason for the costly US involvement in those places? Of course now you are going to argue with a straight face (this is what you jews always do) that it has nothing to do with Israel, and nothing to do with the jews at all.

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  96. LondonBob says:
    @g2k
    RT being shut down might not be such a bad thing; it's completely ineffective, probably why it hasn't been shut down already. It has no sports or entertainment so the only viewers it attracts will be those already sympathetic. Not so long ago it used to produce half-decent, if a bit leftish, documentaries. What's more, neoliberalism.txt has been able to enforce an effective boycott preventing any serious western political figures from going on it. Your taxes well spent AK?

    The calls to shut it down show it does concern people. RTUK could do with less limp wristed lefties but any alternative voices are welcome, already have enough issues with the serious attempts to shut down the internet. My Mum occasionally flicks on RT and the Syrian coverage has definitely impacted her, unfortunately not as much as her daily dose of neoconism from The Times has though.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mikhail
    A constructively critical piece of RT from a few years ago:

    https://www.eurasiareview.com/29122014-with-room-for-improvement-rt-gives-time-to-diverse-views-analysis/
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  97. Jon0815 says:
    @reiner Tor
    The incompetence of the murder attempt itself was extreme, many many errors, I could’ve organized it way better even though I have zero experience about organizing such hits and I didn’t spend a lot of time reading about things like that.

    But please note that there was a second major blunder, the interview itself. This requires that there are many more incompetent people working higher up, and not only in the intelligence services, but in the presidential administration etc.

    The incompetence of the murder attempt itself was extreme, many many errors, I could’ve organized it way better even though I have zero experience about organizing such hits and I didn’t spend a lot of time reading about things like that.

    What about the attempt was clearly incompetent, as opposed to a challenge to Putin’s authority that was intended to embarrass him and poison relations with the West? Arranging for someone to absorb a lethal dose of a particular exotic chemical, is much more difficult than simply shooting them or blowing them up with a car bomb. Possibly the reason the novichok wasn’t very deadly, is that it was an old or even homemade sample, the result of the limited resources available to a conspiracy involving only a handful of low-level people. And they may not have even cared very much if they actually killed Skripal.

    The best evidence of incompetence, is that the suspects apparently made zero effort to avoid being identifiable via CCTV. That is quite strange, because presumably, even while trying to incriminate their own government, they would not have wanted to incriminate themselves personally. So why not arrive via a flight from a third country, weeks before the attack? But this can also be explained by the suspects not being involved in the assassination attempt.

    But please note that there was a second major blunder, the interview itself. This requires that there are many more incompetent people working higher up, and not only in the intelligence services, but in the presidential administration etc.

    I don’t agree that this was some great PR disaster. But even if it was, PR blunders are made by Western politicians all the time. It’s hardly persuasive evidence that Putin is the sort of lunatic who would invest $10 billion in the World Cup in order to improve Russia’s image, and then decide to throw all that effort away, even risk boycotts of the event, in order to kill some unimportant person a few weeks beforehand, in a manner that incriminates himself as much as possible. That’s complete irrationality, not an ordinary case of bad judgement.

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  98. @utu
    What you think or believe is irrelevant. Nobody is interested in what you think. Even what is the truth is irrelevant. But what people believe is the truth matters. People believe the story presented by British media and Russian media are too incompetent to counteract it. Perhaps because they are naive and unsophisticated like you.

    The entire British story rests on the fact that these bozos look like club bouncers and not like hipsters.

    Give them expensive t-shirts and skinny pants, and your “case” falls apart entirely.

    Does it not bother you that you’re making judgments like an emotional teenage girl with hormone issues?

    The European so-called functioning adult is dumber and more naive than a Chinese toddler. That is the real issue that should be bother you, but of course you yourself are too dumb and too naive to even understand the words I wrote.

    This is the real real reason why Putin’s apparatus doesn’t even bother to work with Western public opinion. There’s no opinion there to sway; the creatures you’d be trying to sway are barely even human, they have the self-awareness and critical thinking skills of a chatbot.

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    I know it is hard for you but you must try to realize that what you think happened there or did not happen there is irrelevant because you have no ability or means to convince anybody. Deep down you know it and this makes you unhinged to the point of making statements like "the creatures you’d be trying to sway are barely even human." Take your meds.
    , @LondonBob
    Their stylish jackets and NB trainers show these are gentlemen of fashion, and potentially fabulous.
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  99. iffen says:
    @reiner Tor
    For the record, even if Assad is “murdering its own people with chemical weapons,” he’s still the lesser evil. So Russia is correct to support it.

    But this Skripal affair certainly created a serious credibility problem for Russia. How can you believe what Russians say now? More seriously, how can you believe they even understand what they are doing or saying? It’s like when my three year old daughter says something she heard on TV: you cannot be sure she even understands what she is saying.

    Tinfoil hat theory: the Americans are using something to damage the decision-making of the Russian leadership. Some kind of biological weapon affecting their brains.

    the Americans are using something to damage the decision-making of the Russian leadership.

    When in doubt, blame Uncle Sam.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Was it a serious proposal..?
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  100. Brabantian says: • Website

    The most logical explanation, is a truly unsettling one … It seems that both Britain and the West on the one hand, and the Russians on the other hand, are co-operating in staging bizarre events, where the parties of both sides look like they are lying … so in upcoming ‘conflict’ you can have your choice of who you want to demonise

    It is much simpler if you look at nearly all big-power conflict as staged and fake, with Israel at the centre of the wheel.

    Look at the world’s 20th richest person, Jewish Sheldon Adelson … he is the owner of Israel’s largest media, he makes most of his money in Macao China in close partnership with Beijing, he is the most powerful funder of Trump’s USA Republican Party, and he hobnobs with Putin’s friends all the time

    For example, on the ‘it’s all a fake show amongst the big powers’ front –

    The Israeli press is reporting a pact ‘turning over Israel’s Haifa port to China, and giving China a base in the Mediterranean’ … as Veterans Today adds, this is part of a “40-year courtship between China and Israel” … alongside of “secret negotiations, years in the making, between Iran and Israel” … and then of course, Putin letting Israel attack Syria … ha!

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  101. Drainlet says:

    Average IQ among Russian Federation higher-ups is in the 90s, what can you expect? These people make Galaxy Brain tier decisions not because it’s some sort of play, some of them are just that fucking stupid.

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  102. Gerard2 says:

    If ever there was definitive proof of what a vacuous, russophobic, liberast pile of **** Anatoly Karlin is…..then his blog post here is it.

    [MORE]

    This post is blatantly a NATO handout, repeating verbatim all the faux- laughter at this interview. Karlin won’t move unless his ideological sodomite liberast creep parter Bershidsky does. Ridiculous

    These two guys in Salisbury are blatant gays, there is nothing remotely “bizarre” about the interview except the situation itself. Weekend cultural trips affected by bad weather ( beyond doubt there was bad weather in the South of England that weekend) all make perfectly plausible their documented movements, including the 2 trips to Salisbury, hotel in London and so on.

    Russians on average have a much higher love of high end pre-Modern culture than anyone else on Earth

    We don’t know their wealth, their background enough to be in a position to know how feasible it was for them to have wanted to go on a weekend trip to Britain taking in London, Salisbury Cathedral and Stonehenge , but we do know there is nothing ti disprove it. Maybe they thought they might sound more queer if they said they wanted to see the beautiful scenery or view from the height of the Cathedral…so settled on saying a more masculine, technical description related to it’s height.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if there was some big gay parade in London that weekend, Karlin would know.

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  103. utu says:
    @anonymous coward
    The entire British story rests on the fact that these bozos look like club bouncers and not like hipsters.

    Give them expensive t-shirts and skinny pants, and your "case" falls apart entirely.

    Does it not bother you that you're making judgments like an emotional teenage girl with hormone issues?

    The European so-called functioning adult is dumber and more naive than a Chinese toddler. That is the real issue that should be bother you, but of course you yourself are too dumb and too naive to even understand the words I wrote.

    This is the real real reason why Putin's apparatus doesn't even bother to work with Western public opinion. There's no opinion there to sway; the creatures you'd be trying to sway are barely even human, they have the self-awareness and critical thinking skills of a chatbot.

    I know it is hard for you but you must try to realize that what you think happened there or did not happen there is irrelevant because you have no ability or means to convince anybody. Deep down you know it and this makes you unhinged to the point of making statements like “the creatures you’d be trying to sway are barely even human.” Take your meds.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonymous coward
    Thanks for proving my point. You regurgitated talking points without understanding what I wrote, like the good chatbot that you are.

    In case you didn't get the point, let me repeat again: what happened or didn't happen is irrelevant. Skripal's whole sorry existence or non-existence is irrelevant.

    What matters is that your whole society lost the ability to think rationally and keep more than two things in their heads at the same time. You have the collective intelligence of said chatbot.

    Your whole society is royally fucked, there is no saving this place.
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  104. Let’s go with the put-in-the-closet-by-Putin homosexual lovers going to England to see the ‘height’ of the ‘spire’ angle.

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    • Replies: @Hyperborean

    Let’s go with the put-in-the-closet-by-Putin homosexual lovers going to England to see the ‘height’ of the ‘spire’ angle.
     
    Some more thoughts:

    -They are not denying being lovers, merely requesting 'privacy'.

    -Possessing ladies perfume.

    -Work in 'fitness' industry, don't want to go into details

    -Sharing a double room is not just cheaper and more practical but also 'more fun' and 'easier'

    -'Our trips are not always business-related'

    -Mixing business and pleasure trips

    -'We're always together'

    Honestly, they are horrible, horrible liars.

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  105. Jon0815 says:

    I agree with this by Craig Murray:

    Despite the mocking mob, there is nothing inherently improbable in the tale told by the two men. What matters is whether they can be connected to the novichok, and here the safety of the identification of the microscopic traces of novichok allegedly found in their hotel bedroom is key. I am no scientist, but I have been told by someone who is, that if the particle(s) were as the police state so small as to be harmless to humans, they would be too small for mass spectrometry analysis and almost certainly could not be firmly identified other than as an organophosphate. Perhaps someone qualified might care to comment.

    The hotel room novichok is the key question in this case.

    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/09/lynch-mob-mentality/

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  106. @utu
    I know it is hard for you but you must try to realize that what you think happened there or did not happen there is irrelevant because you have no ability or means to convince anybody. Deep down you know it and this makes you unhinged to the point of making statements like "the creatures you’d be trying to sway are barely even human." Take your meds.

    Thanks for proving my point. You regurgitated talking points without understanding what I wrote, like the good chatbot that you are.

    In case you didn’t get the point, let me repeat again: what happened or didn’t happen is irrelevant. Skripal’s whole sorry existence or non-existence is irrelevant.

    What matters is that your whole society lost the ability to think rationally and keep more than two things in their heads at the same time. You have the collective intelligence of said chatbot.

    Your whole society is royally fucked, there is no saving this place.

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    • Replies: @utu
    Take your meds.
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  107. @Hyperborean
    Let's go with the put-in-the-closet-by-Putin homosexual lovers going to England to see the 'height' of the 'spire' angle.

    Let’s go with the put-in-the-closet-by-Putin homosexual lovers going to England to see the ‘height’ of the ‘spire’ angle.

    Some more thoughts:

    -They are not denying being lovers, merely requesting ‘privacy’.

    -Possessing ladies perfume.

    -Work in ‘fitness’ industry, don’t want to go into details

    -Sharing a double room is not just cheaper and more practical but also ‘more fun’ and ‘easier’

    -’Our trips are not always business-related’

    -Mixing business and pleasure trips

    -’We’re always together’

    Honestly, they are horrible, horrible liars.

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    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    Someone assemble a collage of this to the tune of "Can't Smile Without You."
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  108. Kimppis says:

    Well, I guess I really am “plain autistic,” because at first I didn’t think the interview was that weird or unconvincing. Although I have not been following this clusterfuck of a case closely at all. And now that I think about it, I did notice that Simonyan indeed got quite uncomfortable as the interview went on. So why even publish it? Because she had already promised to do so?

    Also, now that most russophiles here (and even elsewhere) are ridiculing those two, I have made some… recalibrations. Oh, and speaking of PR: It’s still 2018 and we went from the World Cup to this shitshow, quite impressive.

    However, what really changed my mind was Anatoly’s comment from September 8, which I only read yesterday and after watching the interview:

    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/skripal-squib/#comment-2505755

    (Goes without saying that I very much respect his Russia expertise.)

    So now it’s not only reiner Tor (and seemingly many others). Another “extreme Russophile” raises hand! I didn’t read his earlier comments about the case closely as I wasn’t really following this whole thing, but it seems he really was onto something.

    So I’ve been thinking and I’ve made some “adjustments”:

    0. Well, I already had my “Russian military blackpill timeline” that focused on the slow procurement of next-gen equipment (Armata, larger surface ships, Su-57…). (The modernization program has still been a big success overall, however.)

    1. Assad’s chemical weapons are more believable now for sure. Of course I never particularly doubted that the Syrian government used them when they were losing and before Russia’s intervention.

    But really, Assad using chemical weapons when he is very clearly winning makes more sense than the “official” narrative in this Skripal saga. So why not, right? Not that it matters at all. I obviously still “support” Assad and Russia’s intervention, the West couldn’t care less about Syrian civilians.

    2. The MH17 was probably shot down by the “pro-Russian” side. However, I never really questioned that narrative either and it was an accident, so whatever, why not, doesn’t actually count.

    3. The state-run doping program was probably real as well. I really didn’t believe in much of that earlier, but now I’ve finally realized that it’s not beyond the Russian “state”. That said, I still think that the issue was massively politicized and probably hypocritically exaggerated to an extent.

    4. It seems Anatoly came to this conclusion earlier, but the Russian state is probably much more dysfunctional and kleptocratic than I wanted to believe before. Btw, that article on the “Putinism” blog was quite a trip (I read it… or tried to partially read it through Google Translate). One of those photos of Putin (the “botox in the 90s” one) almost gave me nightmares lmao.

    So Anatoly, I think a while ago you said that you don’t think Putin is “personally corrupt,” or rather that there’s no proof of that. So have you changed your mind on that as well? Of course it’s quite clear that the blog post is quite a convoluted mess of Kremlinology, nor is it really anything new, I’d imagine.

    I have to say that one positive thing to come out of this whole mess is that at least it shows me that despite “following” Russia VERY intensely, especially since 2014 (and actually slightly earlier), I’m capable of adjusting my views. I don’t just simply believe everything what I want to believe.

    As well, while the “World Tension meter” is certainly very high, in hindsight I’m quite convinced that this “New Cold War” was more or less inevitable since 1991 even. So we’ll just have to face it.

    Lastly, this doesn’t overall change my views that massively, to be honest. The Western narrative on Russia is still mostly nonsense. All things considered, Putin is overall at least a decent leader and Russia a decent country. And of course what matters most is the “geopolitical role” of Russia vs. the US unipolarism.

    I really got redpilled (if that’s even the correct term) during the last 24 hours…

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    • Agree: reiner Tor, Daniel Chieh
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  109. utu says:
    @anonymous coward
    Thanks for proving my point. You regurgitated talking points without understanding what I wrote, like the good chatbot that you are.

    In case you didn't get the point, let me repeat again: what happened or didn't happen is irrelevant. Skripal's whole sorry existence or non-existence is irrelevant.

    What matters is that your whole society lost the ability to think rationally and keep more than two things in their heads at the same time. You have the collective intelligence of said chatbot.

    Your whole society is royally fucked, there is no saving this place.

    Take your meds.

    Read More
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  110. @Hyperborean

    Let’s go with the put-in-the-closet-by-Putin homosexual lovers going to England to see the ‘height’ of the ‘spire’ angle.
     
    Some more thoughts:

    -They are not denying being lovers, merely requesting 'privacy'.

    -Possessing ladies perfume.

    -Work in 'fitness' industry, don't want to go into details

    -Sharing a double room is not just cheaper and more practical but also 'more fun' and 'easier'

    -'Our trips are not always business-related'

    -Mixing business and pleasure trips

    -'We're always together'

    Honestly, they are horrible, horrible liars.

    Someone assemble a collage of this to the tune of “Can’t Smile Without You.”

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  111. @iffen
    the Americans are using something to damage the decision-making of the Russian leadership.

    When in doubt, blame Uncle Sam.

    Was it a serious proposal..?

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    • Replies: @iffen
    Was it a serious proposal..?

    I was just gigging you.

    I didn't really consider the possibility of our participation, but since you mentioned it.

    Considering that 90% or more of the talking heads are taking on Trump as if it is a death match, I am sure that many (most?) in the deep state are doing the same.
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  112. @Yevardian
    As someone familiar with our part of the world, this strikes me as dubious. As reiner tor mentioned, these men do not have the physiognomy for fans of Medieval Architecture.
    People know I usually vehemently disagree with Akarlin on these sort of topics, but in this case I have to concede: the total incompetence of the Russian government in this instance is breathtaking.

    Moreover, I'm sure more Russophiles will feel like stooges having publically ridiculed this earlier, which in fairness, looked very different at that point.

    I’m sure more Russophiles will feel like stooges having publically ridiculed this earlier, which in fairness, looked very different at that point.

    Of course. I was always careful not to totally exclude the “it’s possible Russia did it out of incompetence or whatever other reason” explanation, but yeah, back in April I half (or more than half) convinced one of my friends that it’s far from certain. Now next time I will have that much more difficult time convincing him of anything. (“Remember when you also thought we should doubt the official Atlanticist explanation for the Skripal case..?”)

    Of course I’d like to be proven wrong on that issue now. So it’d be cool if Russia managed to make a convincing case that it wasn’t them.

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    • Replies: @Jon0815

    (“Remember when you also thought we should doubt the official Atlanticist explanation for the Skripal case..?”)
     

    Your response to this should be: The official Atlanticist explanation is that Putin approved the hit, which should still be doubted because it remains absurd on its face, and there is no more evidence it is true than there was in April.
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  113. Beckow says:
    @Dmitry
    From the interview, they seem just the most obvious soldiers/security forces - their personality, way they look, whole manner of these people, even their faces, is of some low level security force people (not intelligent versions).

    These are not gothic architecture fans. These morons are travelling thousands of kilometers for their love of cathedral architecture?

    These are people who if they try to be undercover cops, all the criminals would know they were police just from their faces.

    I think it's wrong angle however. Intelligence agencies punish traitors is happening by every country, all the time, without any discord.

    Problem here was some incompetence, combined with UK overdramatization, from the excuses for sanctions they have already planned for Russia.

    Other intelligence agencies of the world are doing the same actions all over the world, far more often, and without any media or political attention.

    Really noone should care about this, apart from the UK. It's "business as normal". Most major powers are doing these actions themselves, although maybe in the America they can afford to pay a high enough salary to hire people who are more like James Bond, and less like this embarrassing two.

    They seem like a lot of things: possibly low level security guys, fitness and nutrition ‘entrepreneurs’, smugglers or couriers of some kind, hired help for some intimacy, etc… I can’t read them, but I agree that medieval architecture doesn’t look like their thing.

    The problem with assuming that they were there to eliminate Skripals is the method. You cannot use a nerve agent, and if they were the assassins, it follows that some nerve-chemical substance was used. And then you have a huge problem for Russia. The second problem is Julia, she just flew in from Moscow, why would they go to Salisbury to kill her? Why not do it in Russia? Maybe she was caught up in it, but that would imply a level of incompetence that even in Russia should be rare.

    We don’t have the full story. If you AI it, so many questions and loose ends pop up, so many ‘facts’ could be not true, that any rational analysis spits out that we are observing intertwined false narratives. My final point is that if the 2 guys put the nasty stuff on Skripals doorknob, they would be observed (Skripal was under constant surveillance) and we would be shown the pictures. The narrative of how they supposedly did it, doesn’t add up – middle of the day, with no buffer time, on public street, and then going for fake sight-seeing. That’s rich, or they just might be total idiots.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Skripal was under constant surveillance
     
    Is it true? I thought he was left alone in the firm belief that no one would hurt him anyway. Remember, his home address was available online. It didn't look like he was considered a very important person.

    By the way police often disseminate false information in order to keep the suspects from realizing that they are about to be caught. The doorknob story might just be such a false information. In fact, the doorknob story cannot really be true anyway.
    , @Dmitry
    Well I know nothing about this boring story. I scroll the browser rapidly past to avoid all Reinor Tor's endless writing about it, and equally any news articles.

    In this interview though, a couple of morons, with military bearing and demeanor.

    The only book these guys read, are instructional manuals.

    As for the British side, it will not be more reliable.

    There was some kind of a spy confrontation with the UK. Some exhibition of incompetence, especially in PR. By next year, it will be forgotten.

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  114. @anonymous coward

    But now they provided evidence that two Russian guys visited Salisbury twice in the most suspicious manner at the time of the poisoning.
     
    You really think the British are stupid enough to set up a false flag operation without a decent fall guy to blame?

    Of course they timed the poisoning so a suitably suspicious suspect (in this case, suspects) is nearby. Use your brain!

    Second point: Putin said that these guys "did nothing so illegal". Putin is careful with words and never lies. Read carefully now: he didn't say they "were innocent", he said they "did nothing so illegal".

    Which means the duo are criminals, but not connected to the Skripal farce.

    They said in the interview that they are "small-time businessmen" in the "sports nutrition" business.

    Translation: they are small-time dealers for illegal or semi-legal drugs. They were in Britain for business, but of course they can't come out and say they were there for a drug deal.

    of course they can’t come out and say they were there for a drug deal.

    Why not? Petty criminals accused of murder often come out and confess to their smaller crimes just to avoid the murder charge. Some representative of Putin should quietly even assure them that they won’t be prosecuted for the smaller crimes. Or that they would get a presidential pardon.

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    • Replies: @anonymous coward

    Why not?
     
    Because they're not actually charged of anything by anyone. Being plastered all over British media isn't a crime.
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  115. Vendetta says:
    @Felix Keverich


    Their tourism story reaches levels of implausibility that should not even be possible: We are just heterosexual business partners – but no, we won’t go into any details
     
    Admitting that they are a pair of homosexual lovers would have been a nice touch.

    I don't think it's anywhere near as bad as Anatoly imagines it to be. No one cares! US&UK are already set into their own narrative, which they're going to pursue, regardless of anything the Russians could say. In the rest of the world - absolutely nobody cares.

    Offensive in Idlib has been delayed as Putin is trying to reach some sort of understanding with his "friend" Erdogan.

    Damn. My thought is, the ground offensive in Idlib should be primed to start the day Hurricane Florence makes landfall in the United States.

    Trunp can’t afford to be focused on anything but the disaster response in light of the upcoming midterms. I was all ready for the ranting and raving to begin about Putin hacking the weather.

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  116. @Beckow
    They seem like a lot of things: possibly low level security guys, fitness and nutrition 'entrepreneurs', smugglers or couriers of some kind, hired help for some intimacy, etc... I can't read them, but I agree that medieval architecture doesn't look like their thing.

    The problem with assuming that they were there to eliminate Skripals is the method. You cannot use a nerve agent, and if they were the assassins, it follows that some nerve-chemical substance was used. And then you have a huge problem for Russia. The second problem is Julia, she just flew in from Moscow, why would they go to Salisbury to kill her? Why not do it in Russia? Maybe she was caught up in it, but that would imply a level of incompetence that even in Russia should be rare.

    We don't have the full story. If you AI it, so many questions and loose ends pop up, so many 'facts' could be not true, that any rational analysis spits out that we are observing intertwined false narratives. My final point is that if the 2 guys put the nasty stuff on Skripals doorknob, they would be observed (Skripal was under constant surveillance) and we would be shown the pictures. The narrative of how they supposedly did it, doesn't add up - middle of the day, with no buffer time, on public street, and then going for fake sight-seeing. That's rich, or they just might be total idiots.

    Skripal was under constant surveillance

    Is it true? I thought he was left alone in the firm belief that no one would hurt him anyway. Remember, his home address was available online. It didn’t look like he was considered a very important person.

    By the way police often disseminate false information in order to keep the suspects from realizing that they are about to be caught. The doorknob story might just be such a false information. In fact, the doorknob story cannot really be true anyway.

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    • Replies: @Beckow
    I used a shorthand. More precisely, the street Skripal lived on and the neighbourhood were under camera surveillance. Occasionally those cameras don't work, but if the 2 guys went in that direction - anywhere closer to where Skripal's house is - there should be a picture from one of the closer cameras, ideally from his street. Maybe UK has it and is holding back. But if they don't, that is a gap.

    I disagree about Skripal, he was not that unimportant, and was still active doing something. Any intelligence service would have him under some kind of surveillance, and UK is good at this. They know more than they are telling us.

    I agree about the doorknob. From the beginning it was an unlikely method. (That would make the above lack of a picture irrelevant.) If there was a nerve agent attack, it was applied directly. That is the only way a professional organization would do this.

    I think Skripal was meeting somebody that day. His behaviour, movements, turning off the phones, anxiety in the restaurant, Julia's arrival - all point to a meeting. The weather was a factor, it might had messed up what was supposed to happen. If we can figure out what was that meeting about, we will know what happened.

    But what we have now is a direct contradiction between UK and Russia. They are both lying about something, and they are both playing a game with their evolving narratives. It can get dicey, contradictions will lead to a direct confrontation. UK is carefully spinning it because they need full support from allies (especially Germany and EU) for the coming blow-up. This will get a few paragraphs in the 'Causes' chapter in the history books. If there are any. (And all because it had to snow in Salisbury in early March...)

    , @Jon0815

    By the way police often disseminate false information in order to keep the suspects from realizing that they are about to be caught. The doorknob story might just be such a false information.
     
    I highly doubt that true in this instance. The doorknob story isn't just a media leak. May repeated it in her statement to parliament.

    In fact, the doorknob story cannot really be true anyway.
     
    I wouldn't go so far as "cannot", but I agree it seems incredible. More so, in fact, than anything in the suspects' account, and it is at the center of the UK's case.
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  117. LondonBob says:
    @anonymous coward
    The entire British story rests on the fact that these bozos look like club bouncers and not like hipsters.

    Give them expensive t-shirts and skinny pants, and your "case" falls apart entirely.

    Does it not bother you that you're making judgments like an emotional teenage girl with hormone issues?

    The European so-called functioning adult is dumber and more naive than a Chinese toddler. That is the real issue that should be bother you, but of course you yourself are too dumb and too naive to even understand the words I wrote.

    This is the real real reason why Putin's apparatus doesn't even bother to work with Western public opinion. There's no opinion there to sway; the creatures you'd be trying to sway are barely even human, they have the self-awareness and critical thinking skills of a chatbot.

    Their stylish jackets and NB trainers show these are gentlemen of fashion, and potentially fabulous.

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    • Replies: @Gerard2

    Their stylish jackets and NB trainers show these are gentlemen of fashion, and potentially fabulous.
     
    ...and applied for their passport together, hence the consecutive numbers in their passports....as if a husband and wife would.

    Important to note that is these are their real names and passports, then the British case falls apart
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  118. Gerard2 says:
    @LondonBob
    Their stylish jackets and NB trainers show these are gentlemen of fashion, and potentially fabulous.

    Their stylish jackets and NB trainers show these are gentlemen of fashion, and potentially fabulous.

    …and applied for their passport together, hence the consecutive numbers in their passports….as if a husband and wife would.

    Important to note that is these are their real names and passports, then the British case falls apart

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  119. @Mishima Zaibatsu

    On the Skripal case, the best voice is surely Craig Murray:

    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/09/the-strange-russian-alibi/
     
    Yes! As someone who lives in England, and who saw the Craig Murray piece before coming here and reading the transcript, I found the men’s story to be absolutely plausible and do not understand most of the commenters’ ‘Game Over’ type attitude.

    The UK government’s story is far more fanciful and I would urge people to look at the evidence presented in Murray’s piece before making up their minds. Stonehenge was closed, public transport was all but non-functioning and the weather was a mess.

    “Yes! As someone who lives in England, and who saw the Craig Murray piece before coming here and reading the transcript, I found the men’s story to be absolutely plausible and do not understand most of the commenters’ ‘Game Over’ type attitude.”
    Why?

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  120. Anon[330] • Disclaimer says:

    Unusual I disagree with Karlin, very unusual I disagree with so much.

    A lot depends on one’s starting point. If you believe this was done by GRU, no one will change that easily. If you believe sanctions come first, excuses for sanctions follow, then it is hard to see it as anything but a fit up.

    Yes if they did it or were involved, this is a PR disaster. Russian and Western media will try to get background info on thee, which will not stack up. The UK will probably have additional CTV data which shows them get nearer than the local petrol station and CTV on the Skripal car for the missing hours between leaving home at 9.00am and lunch to show it correct the timeline (which currently has the two guys near the Skripals home only after they had left).
    Which begs the questions, why present them?

    On the other hand if they were wholly innocent, a poor presentation leaving loads of loose threads to pull at is ideal. A real existence in Russia will be uncovered slowly. The timeline gap will remain. A failure for the British to produce any further evidence will be embarrassing. And the 4 months gap between UK finding all the evidenced they had on the pair and their announcement compared to the quick Russian response in revealing them, will pretty much make it clear what is really happening.

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  121. @reiner Tor

    of course they can’t come out and say they were there for a drug deal.
     
    Why not? Petty criminals accused of murder often come out and confess to their smaller crimes just to avoid the murder charge. Some representative of Putin should quietly even assure them that they won't be prosecuted for the smaller crimes. Or that they would get a presidential pardon.

    Why not?

    Because they’re not actually charged of anything by anyone. Being plastered all over British media isn’t a crime.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Nice legalistic argument.
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  122. I don’t understand why there is a willingness to question some parts of the narrative but others are automatically assumed to be true.

    For one example, why should we accept the claim that traces of nerve agent were found in the hotel room? Why does this particular claim deserve to be accepted but other claims are open to question? Would it not be reasonable to expect fake or staged claims like this if other parts are fake or staged?

    And even if you are willing to accept this as a fact, why wouldn’t it be possible that these men accidentally came in contact with traces of the nerve agent somewhere in their travels? Didn’t the authorities report that the alleged perfume bottle container was tossed around and handled by other people?

    Another obvious (at least to me) consideration in accusing these two men: if you wanted to pin false charges on people, wouldn’t you choose people who had something very embarrassing to hide or who were involved in criminal behavior? How would they defend themselves? Wouldn’t they look and act guilty? Wouldn’t they prefer to keep secret their embarrassing or criminal behavior (which would impact their daily lives) rather than admit to it in order to defend themselves against crazy charges in a foreign country? Imagine if some (actually) regular person in the US was accused by the Russian government of being a spy. Wouldn’t we agree that was crazy?

    Lastly, if it is true that we are being manipulated and lied to, we should EXPECT commenters on this site to be leading us slowly and carefully away from just enough information that we no longer have the ability to perceive the truth. If we let people close the window enough it becomes impossible to see anything meaningful.

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    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Yes but this interview is arranged with Margarita Simonyan.

    The whole thing is at the highest levels of external PR. It was not supposed to be something to embarrass them.

    But sure, it's PR which is more like comedy or trolling. Simonyan too tasteful to promote a story they are a gay couple.

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  123. Dmitry says:
    @Spisarevski
    Poor guys. Not only the whole world feels entitled to mock perfectly innocent people and call them not only murderers, but faggots as well, but their own people don't believe them either.

    I unironically suspect that 100% of what they said is true, including that they are not gay.

    Now they have to explain themselves to random people who demand that their personal life is not believable enough. Putin is at fault though, he should not have told them to come out. They don't owe explanations to anybody.

    I know plenty of guys exactly like themselves. Going to London for something and taking a 1 day trip to some small town to see a cathedral is the most normal thing in the world (not to mention Stonehenge and Old Sarum nearby). The English countryside is really nice, I have done similar things myself more than once.

    Maybe if you are some anglo troglodyte who has degenerated so much that he can't even appreciate what's left by his own ancestors, you would be amused that someone wanted to visit Sailsbury cathedral (which even a nigger like JayZ found interesting enough).
    But in any case I know plenty of people who look like these two, who have similarly plebeian employment/business like those two (fitness supplements lol) and who are still pretty happy to look at gothic buildings in the English countryside when the opportunity arises.

    Also where are the pictures from the Skripal house, which has cameras?

    It’s true millions of people are admiring gothic architecture and visiting cultural sites. And we learn, even Jay Z can be the man of culture.

    But these two morons? Lol, they are on cultural pilgramage for gothic architecture?

    Everything about them is of soldiers/police/security, on the lower intelligence and cultural scale.

    If I bought a bag of a cannabis, in the street, and see these two guys walking past me. I’ll say immediately – “fuck there’s police here”.

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  124. Dmitry says:
    @LemmingsFolly
    I don't understand why there is a willingness to question some parts of the narrative but others are automatically assumed to be true.

    For one example, why should we accept the claim that traces of nerve agent were found in the hotel room? Why does this particular claim deserve to be accepted but other claims are open to question? Would it not be reasonable to expect fake or staged claims like this if other parts are fake or staged?

    And even if you are willing to accept this as a fact, why wouldn't it be possible that these men accidentally came in contact with traces of the nerve agent somewhere in their travels? Didn't the authorities report that the alleged perfume bottle container was tossed around and handled by other people?

    Another obvious (at least to me) consideration in accusing these two men: if you wanted to pin false charges on people, wouldn't you choose people who had something very embarrassing to hide or who were involved in criminal behavior? How would they defend themselves? Wouldn't they look and act guilty? Wouldn't they prefer to keep secret their embarrassing or criminal behavior (which would impact their daily lives) rather than admit to it in order to defend themselves against crazy charges in a foreign country? Imagine if some (actually) regular person in the US was accused by the Russian government of being a spy. Wouldn't we agree that was crazy?

    Lastly, if it is true that we are being manipulated and lied to, we should EXPECT commenters on this site to be leading us slowly and carefully away from just enough information that we no longer have the ability to perceive the truth. If we let people close the window enough it becomes impossible to see anything meaningful.

    Yes but this interview is arranged with Margarita Simonyan.

    The whole thing is at the highest levels of external PR. It was not supposed to be something to embarrass them.

    But sure, it’s PR which is more like comedy or trolling. Simonyan too tasteful to promote a story they are a gay couple.

    Read More
    • Replies: @blahbahblah

    The whole thing is at the highest levels of external PR. It was not supposed to be something to embarrass them.

     

    But this wasn't recorded live was it? Pretty sure they could have buried it if they wanted to. Which makes me wonder why it wasn't.
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  125. Dmitry says:
    @Beckow
    They seem like a lot of things: possibly low level security guys, fitness and nutrition 'entrepreneurs', smugglers or couriers of some kind, hired help for some intimacy, etc... I can't read them, but I agree that medieval architecture doesn't look like their thing.

    The problem with assuming that they were there to eliminate Skripals is the method. You cannot use a nerve agent, and if they were the assassins, it follows that some nerve-chemical substance was used. And then you have a huge problem for Russia. The second problem is Julia, she just flew in from Moscow, why would they go to Salisbury to kill her? Why not do it in Russia? Maybe she was caught up in it, but that would imply a level of incompetence that even in Russia should be rare.

    We don't have the full story. If you AI it, so many questions and loose ends pop up, so many 'facts' could be not true, that any rational analysis spits out that we are observing intertwined false narratives. My final point is that if the 2 guys put the nasty stuff on Skripals doorknob, they would be observed (Skripal was under constant surveillance) and we would be shown the pictures. The narrative of how they supposedly did it, doesn't add up - middle of the day, with no buffer time, on public street, and then going for fake sight-seeing. That's rich, or they just might be total idiots.

    Well I know nothing about this boring story. I scroll the browser rapidly past to avoid all Reinor Tor’s endless writing about it, and equally any news articles.

    In this interview though, a couple of morons, with military bearing and demeanor.

    The only book these guys read, are instructional manuals.

    As for the British side, it will not be more reliable.

    There was some kind of a spy confrontation with the UK. Some exhibition of incompetence, especially in PR. By next year, it will be forgotten.

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  126. @Dmitry
    Yes but this interview is arranged with Margarita Simonyan.

    The whole thing is at the highest levels of external PR. It was not supposed to be something to embarrass them.

    But sure, it's PR which is more like comedy or trolling. Simonyan too tasteful to promote a story they are a gay couple.

    The whole thing is at the highest levels of external PR. It was not supposed to be something to embarrass them.

    But this wasn’t recorded live was it? Pretty sure they could have buried it if they wanted to. Which makes me wonder why it wasn’t.

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    • Replies: @Dmitry
    They probably think "great interview" and has cleared the topic. (Or if it doesn't, "it's not our responsibility" anyway).

    People leaving the office at 6pm yesterday, and not worrying about it it the moment their work day ends.

    But really their interview is completely unprepared and lazy. If even the Russian internet is laughing at them, then how is it expected to impress international audiences.

    On the other hand, the PR side is neither very high priority obviously, and the whole topic has become greatly boring and overdramatized.

    I think the best option for PR would have been no public response at all, as the topic fades to more important issues.

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  127. Beckow says:
    @reiner Tor

    Skripal was under constant surveillance
     
    Is it true? I thought he was left alone in the firm belief that no one would hurt him anyway. Remember, his home address was available online. It didn't look like he was considered a very important person.

    By the way police often disseminate false information in order to keep the suspects from realizing that they are about to be caught. The doorknob story might just be such a false information. In fact, the doorknob story cannot really be true anyway.

    I used a shorthand. More precisely, the street Skripal lived on and the neighbourhood were under camera surveillance. Occasionally those cameras don’t work, but if the 2 guys went in that direction – anywhere closer to where Skripal’s house is – there should be a picture from one of the closer cameras, ideally from his street. Maybe UK has it and is holding back. But if they don’t, that is a gap.

    I disagree about Skripal, he was not that unimportant, and was still active doing something. Any intelligence service would have him under some kind of surveillance, and UK is good at this. They know more than they are telling us.

    I agree about the doorknob. From the beginning it was an unlikely method. (That would make the above lack of a picture irrelevant.) If there was a nerve agent attack, it was applied directly. That is the only way a professional organization would do this.

    I think Skripal was meeting somebody that day. His behaviour, movements, turning off the phones, anxiety in the restaurant, Julia’s arrival – all point to a meeting. The weather was a factor, it might had messed up what was supposed to happen. If we can figure out what was that meeting about, we will know what happened.

    But what we have now is a direct contradiction between UK and Russia. They are both lying about something, and they are both playing a game with their evolving narratives. It can get dicey, contradictions will lead to a direct confrontation. UK is carefully spinning it because they need full support from allies (especially Germany and EU) for the coming blow-up. This will get a few paragraphs in the ‘Causes’ chapter in the history books. If there are any. (And all because it had to snow in Salisbury in early March…)

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  128. Antiwar7 says:
    @reiner Tor
    I didn’t watch the interview, but what I saw about the transcript... it’s just bizarre.

    I read the transcript and thought it was believable. Unless they’re very sophisticated, their childish embarrassment about probably being in fact lovers was the most convincing part.

    Plus I don’t find it odd to plan a weekend in London for fun, and trying to make a day trip to Salisbury for sightseeing.

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    • Replies: @al gore rhythms
    Do you find it odd to to choose a place 1500 miles away in Winter as a destination for a weekend break?

    What is the furthest you have travelled for a long weekend in the Winter?
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  129. Kinez says:
    @Spisarevski
    Poor guys. Not only the whole world feels entitled to mock perfectly innocent people and call them not only murderers, but faggots as well, but their own people don't believe them either.

    I unironically suspect that 100% of what they said is true, including that they are not gay.

    Now they have to explain themselves to random people who demand that their personal life is not believable enough. Putin is at fault though, he should not have told them to come out. They don't owe explanations to anybody.

    I know plenty of guys exactly like themselves. Going to London for something and taking a 1 day trip to some small town to see a cathedral is the most normal thing in the world (not to mention Stonehenge and Old Sarum nearby). The English countryside is really nice, I have done similar things myself more than once.

    Maybe if you are some anglo troglodyte who has degenerated so much that he can't even appreciate what's left by his own ancestors, you would be amused that someone wanted to visit Sailsbury cathedral (which even a nigger like JayZ found interesting enough).
    But in any case I know plenty of people who look like these two, who have similarly plebeian employment/business like those two (fitness supplements lol) and who are still pretty happy to look at gothic buildings in the English countryside when the opportunity arises.

    Also where are the pictures from the Skripal house, which has cameras?

    I know plenty of guys exactly like themselves. Going to London for something and taking a 1 day trip to some small town to see a cathedral is the most normal thing in the world (not to mention Stonehenge and Old Sarum nearby). The English countryside is really nice, I have done similar things myself more than once.

    Maybe if you are some anglo troglodyte who has degenerated so much that he can’t even appreciate what’s left by his own ancestors, you would be amused that someone wanted to visit Sailsbury cathedral (which even a nigger like JayZ found interesting enough).
    But in any case I know plenty of people who look like these two, who have similarly plebeian employment/business like those two (fitness supplements lol) and who are still pretty happy to look at gothic buildings in the English countryside when the opportunity arises.

    Exactly this. There are plenty of well-educated people (in the fullest sense) who are running some unremarkable business simply as a way to make money, not as any particular expression of their inner essence or cultural outlook; especially so in countries which aren’t overflowing with well-paid, engaging jobs. Conversely, there are plenty of people in professional jobs who are tasteless and vulgar, with no interest in high culture, just spending their free time engaging in tasteful banter in wine bars.

    I know plenty of people with a “thuggish physiognomy”, whose dress sense is Balkan casual, who are doing menial jobs, who nonetheless are quite well-read, enjoy visiting beautiful buildings and churches, museums, nature spots, who like classical music, who enjoy discussions about history, society, philosophy etc etc. And why not? Only in England is the national pastime drinking until incapacitated on Fridays and Saturdays, with rare five-minute bouts of drunken sex with some girl they picked up down the pub. In civilised countries you rarely see public drunkeness and people drinking to get blind drunk.

    Also, I have no idea why you’d assume these guys are gay. Two friends travelling together = GAY! Wtf?! Public acceptance of homosexuality really does have an effect on the perception of close male friendships I suppose.

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  130. Jon0815 says:
    @reiner Tor

    Skripal was under constant surveillance
     
    Is it true? I thought he was left alone in the firm belief that no one would hurt him anyway. Remember, his home address was available online. It didn't look like he was considered a very important person.

    By the way police often disseminate false information in order to keep the suspects from realizing that they are about to be caught. The doorknob story might just be such a false information. In fact, the doorknob story cannot really be true anyway.

    By the way police often disseminate false information in order to keep the suspects from realizing that they are about to be caught. The doorknob story might just be such a false information.

    I highly doubt that true in this instance. The doorknob story isn’t just a media leak. May repeated it in her statement to parliament.

    In fact, the doorknob story cannot really be true anyway.

    I wouldn’t go so far as “cannot”, but I agree it seems incredible. More so, in fact, than anything in the suspects’ account, and it is at the center of the UK’s case.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Beckow

    ...The doorknob story isn’t just a media leak. May repeated it in her statement to parliament.
     
    That's what makes this story so weird. It was an unnecessary and not very credible detail, so why did May repeat it?

    Verisimilitude is the art of including small details into one's narrative to create an impression of credibility. But the doorknob detail did the opposite. I agree that it is remotely possible, but then all kinds of questions about competence - or even sanity - pop up. Even street thugs apply acid directly, and the odds of success with a doorknob spray very pretty low. It also by definition means that the assassins had no control over the outcome or any accidental side-effects. That simply would not pass an intelligence agency final review. On the other hand, this is how a powerless and angry outsider would try to settle score.

    Making it the centre of UK's case had to have a reason. Either no other method could be made to fit due to timing, or it was a part of a complicated game, or they have a picture of someone doing it that they can release at the right time. But most likely it was damage control, this has been spinning out of control since the beginning and it has a Sarajevo f..k-up written all over it.

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  131. Jon0815 says:
    @reiner Tor

    I’m sure more Russophiles will feel like stooges having publically ridiculed this earlier, which in fairness, looked very different at that point.
     
    Of course. I was always careful not to totally exclude the "it's possible Russia did it out of incompetence or whatever other reason" explanation, but yeah, back in April I half (or more than half) convinced one of my friends that it's far from certain. Now next time I will have that much more difficult time convincing him of anything. ("Remember when you also thought we should doubt the official Atlanticist explanation for the Skripal case..?")

    Of course I'd like to be proven wrong on that issue now. So it'd be cool if Russia managed to make a convincing case that it wasn't them.

    (“Remember when you also thought we should doubt the official Atlanticist explanation for the Skripal case..?”)

    Your response to this should be: The official Atlanticist explanation is that Putin approved the hit, which should still be doubted because it remains absurd on its face, and there is no more evidence it is true than there was in April.

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    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    I also doubt that. Its retarded.

    On the other hand, I have no reason to doubt dysfunctional governmental agencies. The CIA used to "go off-the-reservations" all of the time and I'm familiar enough to know that both the US and Chinese government all have highly incompetent individuals with unfortunate quantities of authority. I see no compelling reason why Russia will be different.
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  132. Lot says:
    @El Dato
    I don't know about that picture, probably a cleared street after slight rain, but it was the time of the "Beast from the East". You may well find serious snowdrifts a bit outside

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_Great_Britain_and_Ireland_cold_wave

    Random YouTube from Leeds (central England) 2018-02-28

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4gYNVSf21k

    Craig Murray says:

    "Those mocking the idea that the pair were blocked by snow from visiting Stonehenge have pointed to the CCTV footage of central Salisbury not showing snow on the afternoon of 4 March. Well, that is central Salisbury, it had of course been salted and cleared. Outside there were drifts."

    OMG that looks like almost 2 inches! I am sure any Russian heterosexual male tourists/fitness consultant couple on a 50-hour Wintertime vacation to England would be completely deterred.

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  133. @Jon0815

    (“Remember when you also thought we should doubt the official Atlanticist explanation for the Skripal case..?”)
     

    Your response to this should be: The official Atlanticist explanation is that Putin approved the hit, which should still be doubted because it remains absurd on its face, and there is no more evidence it is true than there was in April.

    I also doubt that. Its retarded.

    On the other hand, I have no reason to doubt dysfunctional governmental agencies. The CIA used to “go off-the-reservations” all of the time and I’m familiar enough to know that both the US and Chinese government all have highly incompetent individuals with unfortunate quantities of authority. I see no compelling reason why Russia will be different.

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    • Replies: @Beckow
    It is true that intelligence agencies sometimes go off-the-reservation. But they still manage a basic level of sanity and competence. The two most likely involved here - UK and Russia - are also among the more professional ones.

    This was not a professional hit, it looks more like a series of unfortunate coincidences (incl. the weather) at the intersection of some mundane intelligence contest. I still think the key is in what was Skripal all about (now, not 10 years ago), what was he doing, what was his relationship with his daughter who just flew in. He looks like a troubled guy who got himself either professionally or possibly mentally to a very strange place.

    There are some hard to explain (even irrational) aspects to this case. It is - as always - more likely that those originated with the troubled individuals involved and not with external institutions. Maybe the 'fitness' guys were bringing Skripal a 'nutritional' sample, and he foolishly tasted it. Or it is about money, these things usually are.

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  134. iffen says:
    @reiner Tor
    Was it a serious proposal..?

    Was it a serious proposal..?

    I was just gigging you.

    I didn’t really consider the possibility of our participation, but since you mentioned it.

    Considering that 90% or more of the talking heads are taking on Trump as if it is a death match, I am sure that many (most?) in the deep state are doing the same.

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  135. haha, watching that glorious interview in Russian by Simonyan which herself was nearly grimacing and laughing at once several times was one of the most pleasurable media experiences lately :)

    imho it is clear that it was not her idea to do this so haphazardly and clumsily as it was, she was just following quick orders from the highest level no matter how absurd they may seem. Not sure about the timing but it seems just several hours ago before this comedy from RT Putin himsel said that “yeah we found those guys, they did not nothing wrong and I hope they soon will contact media in order to tell it all”.

    So no need to blame propaganda apparatus when they have just to follow orders and have no way to refuse such trademark style lying nonsense coming directly from Putin in vein of “they bought guns and uniforms in military style shops” during Crimean Anshluss or “they simply were lost during exercises” when Ukrainians caught about dozen of RF soldiers during Ilovaisk battles.

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  136. Dmitry says:
    @blahbahblah

    The whole thing is at the highest levels of external PR. It was not supposed to be something to embarrass them.

     

    But this wasn't recorded live was it? Pretty sure they could have buried it if they wanted to. Which makes me wonder why it wasn't.

    They probably think “great interview” and has cleared the topic. (Or if it doesn’t, “it’s not our responsibility” anyway).

    People leaving the office at 6pm yesterday, and not worrying about it it the moment their work day ends.

    But really their interview is completely unprepared and lazy. If even the Russian internet is laughing at them, then how is it expected to impress international audiences.

    On the other hand, the PR side is neither very high priority obviously, and the whole topic has become greatly boring and overdramatized.

    I think the best option for PR would have been no public response at all, as the topic fades to more important issues.

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  137. Beckow says:
    @Jon0815

    By the way police often disseminate false information in order to keep the suspects from realizing that they are about to be caught. The doorknob story might just be such a false information.
     
    I highly doubt that true in this instance. The doorknob story isn't just a media leak. May repeated it in her statement to parliament.

    In fact, the doorknob story cannot really be true anyway.
     
    I wouldn't go so far as "cannot", but I agree it seems incredible. More so, in fact, than anything in the suspects' account, and it is at the center of the UK's case.

    …The doorknob story isn’t just a media leak. May repeated it in her statement to parliament.

    That’s what makes this story so weird. It was an unnecessary and not very credible detail, so why did May repeat it?

    Verisimilitude is the art of including small details into one’s narrative to create an impression of credibility. But the doorknob detail did the opposite. I agree that it is remotely possible, but then all kinds of questions about competence – or even sanity – pop up. Even street thugs apply acid directly, and the odds of success with a doorknob spray very pretty low. It also by definition means that the assassins had no control over the outcome or any accidental side-effects. That simply would not pass an intelligence agency final review. On the other hand, this is how a powerless and angry outsider would try to settle score.

    Making it the centre of UK’s case had to have a reason. Either no other method could be made to fit due to timing, or it was a part of a complicated game, or they have a picture of someone doing it that they can release at the right time. But most likely it was damage control, this has been spinning out of control since the beginning and it has a Sarajevo f..k-up written all over it.

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  138. @DreadIlk
    I like Sharij's theory. That it was a set up for Russian GRU. They showed up for something but then Skripals we're dropped on them. And now Russians can't just come out and say yeah we were there but not for Skripals.

    I like this hypothesis. These doods are obviously muscle, GRU or private sector. Someone wanted two menacing Russians in the area and arranged for their to be some. The novichok poisoning still doesn’t make sense, I think the original take that it was fabricated by Cuck Island still holds. Unless RT has some 30 dimensional chess move planned putting them on TV is never the less a PR disaster. Better to just tell the truth “we were there to kill someone else and we’re set up”. Russia needs to hire better western media spin doctors.

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  139. Beckow says:
    @Daniel Chieh
    I also doubt that. Its retarded.

    On the other hand, I have no reason to doubt dysfunctional governmental agencies. The CIA used to "go off-the-reservations" all of the time and I'm familiar enough to know that both the US and Chinese government all have highly incompetent individuals with unfortunate quantities of authority. I see no compelling reason why Russia will be different.

    It is true that intelligence agencies sometimes go off-the-reservation. But they still manage a basic level of sanity and competence. The two most likely involved here – UK and Russia – are also among the more professional ones.

    This was not a professional hit, it looks more like a series of unfortunate coincidences (incl. the weather) at the intersection of some mundane intelligence contest. I still think the key is in what was Skripal all about (now, not 10 years ago), what was he doing, what was his relationship with his daughter who just flew in. He looks like a troubled guy who got himself either professionally or possibly mentally to a very strange place.

    There are some hard to explain (even irrational) aspects to this case. It is – as always – more likely that those originated with the troubled individuals involved and not with external institutions. Maybe the ‘fitness’ guys were bringing Skripal a ‘nutritional’ sample, and he foolishly tasted it. Or it is about money, these things usually are.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    It could simply be a criminal organization that has former intelligence operatives, which isn't that rare. Such operatives might be able to reach out to their former colleagues for the weapons used in the assassination, as well as the unprofessional execution of it all.

    This ends up being highly embarrassing for all involved, but the chain of causality isn't that hard to imagine.
    , @AP
    Several sources have indicated that Skripal was helping Spanish law enforcement to deal with Russian organized crime in Spain, and that these Russian criminals had links to GRU.
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  140. @Beckow
    It is true that intelligence agencies sometimes go off-the-reservation. But they still manage a basic level of sanity and competence. The two most likely involved here - UK and Russia - are also among the more professional ones.

    This was not a professional hit, it looks more like a series of unfortunate coincidences (incl. the weather) at the intersection of some mundane intelligence contest. I still think the key is in what was Skripal all about (now, not 10 years ago), what was he doing, what was his relationship with his daughter who just flew in. He looks like a troubled guy who got himself either professionally or possibly mentally to a very strange place.

    There are some hard to explain (even irrational) aspects to this case. It is - as always - more likely that those originated with the troubled individuals involved and not with external institutions. Maybe the 'fitness' guys were bringing Skripal a 'nutritional' sample, and he foolishly tasted it. Or it is about money, these things usually are.

    It could simply be a criminal organization that has former intelligence operatives, which isn’t that rare. Such operatives might be able to reach out to their former colleagues for the weapons used in the assassination, as well as the unprofessional execution of it all.

    This ends up being highly embarrassing for all involved, but the chain of causality isn’t that hard to imagine.

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    • Replies: @Beckow
    I can imagine quite a few different chains of causality. I agree that there was something criminal at the root of this. And I think Skripal was involved.

    There is something that has bothered me from the beginning about assigning this to 'approved by Putin' column. How would that work? I can see Russian intelligence having a standing permission to eliminate traitors. I can also see Putin routinely signing off when meeting with the GRU head on a particular action. That happens all the time (same goes for US President or other heads of state). But at what point would the intelligence head say, 'and by the way, we want to use a nerve-chemical agent, if that is ok with you Mr President'. Awkward. Putin doesn't strike me as either reckless or stupid, bringing a request like that to him for approval could be a career ending move (or worse). I don't see it. (It is possible that Putin pro-actively comes up with an idea like this, but if that is part of his make-up, we have bigger problems.)
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  141. What’s the IQ needed to execute a complex O-ring problem like an assassination in a foreign country these days?

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    • LOL: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I don't know. All I know is that I'd have done a better job than those who sent these hapless dudes.
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  142. Read More
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  143. Beckow says:
    @Daniel Chieh
    It could simply be a criminal organization that has former intelligence operatives, which isn't that rare. Such operatives might be able to reach out to their former colleagues for the weapons used in the assassination, as well as the unprofessional execution of it all.

    This ends up being highly embarrassing for all involved, but the chain of causality isn't that hard to imagine.

    I can imagine quite a few different chains of causality. I agree that there was something criminal at the root of this. And I think Skripal was involved.

    There is something that has bothered me from the beginning about assigning this to ‘approved by Putin’ column. How would that work? I can see Russian intelligence having a standing permission to eliminate traitors. I can also see Putin routinely signing off when meeting with the GRU head on a particular action. That happens all the time (same goes for US President or other heads of state). But at what point would the intelligence head say, ‘and by the way, we want to use a nerve-chemical agent, if that is ok with you Mr President‘. Awkward. Putin doesn’t strike me as either reckless or stupid, bringing a request like that to him for approval could be a career ending move (or worse). I don’t see it. (It is possible that Putin pro-actively comes up with an idea like this, but if that is part of his make-up, we have bigger problems.)

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  144. Not Raul says:
    @Londonbob
    False flags like this and the Skripals happen all too often.

    So these two homos were randomly fitted up for the Skripal false flag. This is too funny, brilliant. Craig Murray ain't wrong. Some of you posters really don't understand how Western intelligence agencies work, Murray certainly does.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the guy the Turks supposedly caught in Syria was actually caught somewhere else. As for his “confession”, the Turks could get a guy to confess to killing Lincoln if they wanted to.

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  145. @Daniel Chieh
    What's the IQ needed to execute a complex O-ring problem like an assassination in a foreign country these days?

    I don’t know. All I know is that I’d have done a better job than those who sent these hapless dudes.

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  146. @Antiwar7
    I read the transcript and thought it was believable. Unless they're very sophisticated, their childish embarrassment about probably being in fact lovers was the most convincing part.

    Plus I don't find it odd to plan a weekend in London for fun, and trying to make a day trip to Salisbury for sightseeing.

    Do you find it odd to to choose a place 1500 miles away in Winter as a destination for a weekend break?

    What is the furthest you have travelled for a long weekend in the Winter?

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    They traveled from Moscow. Do they live in Moscow? If yes, how could they have been intimidated by such snow? Even the Germans did better in their summer uniforms in 1941. At Moscow, not in the lukewarm British winter with some minimal snow.

    I understand that even minimal snow often breaks down the unaccustomed British public transport systems, but come on. We’re talking about a couple of guys who made spontaneous decisions about suddenly traveling a few thousand kilometers. Could they not come up with a plan B? Like walking to the cathedral. Or going to a bar for a few drinks. Did they drink anything? Did cameras catch them in a bar?

    I bet you their bosses stole the money allocated to the project, and that’s why they were given a hotel room in a shitty hotel, and probably had to eat sandwiches all the time.

    The story is obviously unbelievable.
    , @Antiwar7
    March is barely winter, and the winters in England are mild. I've seen blooming flowers there in December, and people sitting outside in cafes.

    The distance doesn't matter; it's just a plane ride. They have money from their business, and presumably no kids, so they have time to do what they want. I don't find it unbelievable at all.
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  147. @al gore rhythms
    Do you find it odd to to choose a place 1500 miles away in Winter as a destination for a weekend break?

    What is the furthest you have travelled for a long weekend in the Winter?

    They traveled from Moscow. Do they live in Moscow? If yes, how could they have been intimidated by such snow? Even the Germans did better in their summer uniforms in 1941. At Moscow, not in the lukewarm British winter with some minimal snow.

    I understand that even minimal snow often breaks down the unaccustomed British public transport systems, but come on. We’re talking about a couple of guys who made spontaneous decisions about suddenly traveling a few thousand kilometers. Could they not come up with a plan B? Like walking to the cathedral. Or going to a bar for a few drinks. Did they drink anything? Did cameras catch them in a bar?

    I bet you their bosses stole the money allocated to the project, and that’s why they were given a hotel room in a shitty hotel, and probably had to eat sandwiches all the time.

    The story is obviously unbelievable.

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    • Agree: Tyrion 2
    • Replies: @Antiwar7
    Um, they were wet, and thus uncomfortable. You're comparing two guys on a lark to soldiers in the German army?
    , @Antiwar7
    Also, if they were on a mission, why would getting wet deter them?
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  148. @Anatoly Karlin

    Admitting that they are a pair of homosexual lovers would have been a nice touch.
     
    Homintern could have been our shield against the Eternal Anglo.

    But it was not to be.

    Never woulda happened.

    Homintern is a creation of the Jews.

    Period.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    What! Dem Jews are involved? Nobody said anything about this. All bets are off.
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  149. AP says:
    @Beckow
    It is true that intelligence agencies sometimes go off-the-reservation. But they still manage a basic level of sanity and competence. The two most likely involved here - UK and Russia - are also among the more professional ones.

    This was not a professional hit, it looks more like a series of unfortunate coincidences (incl. the weather) at the intersection of some mundane intelligence contest. I still think the key is in what was Skripal all about (now, not 10 years ago), what was he doing, what was his relationship with his daughter who just flew in. He looks like a troubled guy who got himself either professionally or possibly mentally to a very strange place.

    There are some hard to explain (even irrational) aspects to this case. It is - as always - more likely that those originated with the troubled individuals involved and not with external institutions. Maybe the 'fitness' guys were bringing Skripal a 'nutritional' sample, and he foolishly tasted it. Or it is about money, these things usually are.

    Several sources have indicated that Skripal was helping Spanish law enforcement to deal with Russian organized crime in Spain, and that these Russian criminals had links to GRU.

    Read More
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  150. iffen says:
    @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan
    Never woulda happened.

    Homintern is a creation of the Jews.

    Period.

    What! Dem Jews are involved? Nobody said anything about this. All bets are off.

    Read More
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  151. Read More
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  152. Mikel says:

    If they are innocent, I totally sympathize with those saying that their account of the events would actually be too weird to sound convincing. I have myself made lots of trips, including some transcontinental ones, the details of which absolutely nobody would believe were real if I was to explain my motives on a TV interview in the context of an international scandal involving sanctions against superpowers and use of chemical weapons.

    However, I know the south of England well enough to find the idea of spending a short weekend vacation in London and insisting in visiting Salisbury and its surroundings twice during that interval just too weird.

    I still wouldn’t rush to judge the Douma chemical attack by Assad plausible but at this point I am not able to discard going down that road if those two chaps are not made to offer some additional explanations.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    I have myself made lots of trips

    absolutely nobody would believe
     
    If you’ve made lots of trips, then eminently it’d be believable that you wasted some of those.

    These guys have never been to England. Apparently they’d never been abroad. Did you plan your first trip abroad? After being unable to see what you wanted, were you totally unconcerned? Did you just cut your trip short without seeing... anything? Wouldn’t it psychologically be difficult to accept? Like you just spent a lot of money and you didn’t even get to see... anything at all? And then decided to go home quickly?
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  153. @Mikel
    If they are innocent, I totally sympathize with those saying that their account of the events would actually be too weird to sound convincing. I have myself made lots of trips, including some transcontinental ones, the details of which absolutely nobody would believe were real if I was to explain my motives on a TV interview in the context of an international scandal involving sanctions against superpowers and use of chemical weapons.

    However, I know the south of England well enough to find the idea of spending a short weekend vacation in London and insisting in visiting Salisbury and its surroundings twice during that interval just too weird.

    I still wouldn't rush to judge the Douma chemical attack by Assad plausible but at this point I am not able to discard going down that road if those two chaps are not made to offer some additional explanations.

    I have myself made lots of trips

    absolutely nobody would believe

    If you’ve made lots of trips, then eminently it’d be believable that you wasted some of those.

    These guys have never been to England. Apparently they’d never been abroad. Did you plan your first trip abroad? After being unable to see what you wanted, were you totally unconcerned? Did you just cut your trip short without seeing… anything? Wouldn’t it psychologically be difficult to accept? Like you just spent a lot of money and you didn’t even get to see… anything at all? And then decided to go home quickly?

    Read More
    • Replies: @for-the-record
    Apparently they’d never been abroad.

    Intelligence agencies are investigating a series of trips by two Russian hitmen to Geneva prior to carrying out the nerve agent attack on Salisbury.

    Russian flight ticket details obtained by the Telegraph show Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov made at least six separate trips to the Swiss city in the run up to the assassination attempt on Sergei Skripal.

    Records show they booked nine separate flights to and from Geneva between November 2017 and February this year.

    Whitehall sources said establishing who they met in Geneva was now “absolutely key to the ongoing investigation”.

    The tickets suggest they visited Geneva, the hub of international diplomacy, during sensitive Syria peace talks hosted by the United Nations and facilitated by Russia in November and December 2017.

    They also show the hitmen travelling widely elsewhere in Europe from September 2016 when the Russian state issued them passports under their fake names up until March this year when they flew into London to try to kill Col Skripal.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/09/07/russian-hitmen-spent-weeks-geneva-nerve-agent-attack-sergei/
     
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  154. @anonymous coward

    Why not?
     
    Because they're not actually charged of anything by anyone. Being plastered all over British media isn't a crime.

    Nice legalistic argument.

    Read More
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  155. Tyrion 2 says:
    @Dmitry
    Almost all, normal special services around the world are fighting their own traitor agents. Their mission was something trivial - all the problem is in stupid planning , and even comedic PR aftermath.

    It feels like total lack of care and effort in the PR area.

    They made no effort to hide these guys' military personality and attitude.

    Their commanders should at least prepare them before interviews so they don't look like they live in a military base. They could at least afford to give them suitable clothes and not regulation haircuts, so they would resemble any kind of bourgeois people who actually travel thousands of kilometers to visit cathedral cities on the other end of the continent.

    Surely their commanders are not so uncultured, that they at least don't know what architecture and cathedral aficionados look like. Really, probably just laziness and incompetence.

    I wonder who has the initial idea to expose GRU agents to international ridicule. RT?

    Why couldn’t they rent a car?

    Don’t they know about UK CCTV?

    Who needs a recce to spray something on a doorknob?

    Can’t they use Google Maps Street View?

    Couldn’t they have sent someone else for the recce?

    How about touring England the week before – to construct some sort of believable cover story?

    Why pick the weekend when Ms Skripal is visiting from Russia?

    Why use Novichok…not just a hit and run?

    Why even kill the bloke? And at that time? And fail?

    Why have the TV interview?

    Why stay in East London?

    Why look like Russian goons out of Hollywood central casting?

    Why fail to dispose of the weapon?

    Tweedle Dee and Dum’s behaviour better fits two operatives going to Salisbury to do something mundane.

    But if that were the case the Russians would be best off just admitting it.

    This story is not over. God knows what will out.

    Read More
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  156. Suppose these two men are on trial and you are the judge.
    Here is what you would be presented with.

    Prosecutor: We have camera footage of these two men arriving in London and walking around the town of Salisbury at the time of the crime. They are with rather athletic constitution, and their whole physic resembles state (Russian) secret agents or at least hired thugs. So, they are perpetrators of the crime acting on order of the official Russian authorities.

    Defense: We are shown camera footage of two men arriving in London and walking around the town of Salisbury at the time of the crime.

    Would you be convinced beyond any reasonable doubt to convict them?

    I know that in any court, the prosecutor’s case will fall apart for having presented only circumstantial evidence and this should mean something.

    The rest is up to every reader’s personal preferences.

    As far as I am concerned, I gradually stopped believing anything that comes out of Western mainstream starting with 2003 WMD (remember that) and ending with Libya and this whole sorry Syrian saga.

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    There are no innocents only insufficiently interrogated.
    , @Beckow
    I suspect a British judge would convict them, if he knows what is good for him. They would throw in secret evidence, mostly allusions to moles in Russia's security services who 'told us'. And media would go into a frenzy.

    Rule #1 in conflict situations (like quasi wars we have today) is to choose the territory to fight on. Choose the areas where you have an advantage. West has - and always will have - media and judicial dominance at home. That is incontestable and no amount of clever 'PR' by any outsider can change it. On the other hand, West is not dominant when crawling with guns through dusty side streets of Palmyra, or making sure that homes in Ukraine are heated during a freezing winter.

    I suspect like all rational players, Russia focuses its resources where it has an advantage. The recent hysterical Western descend into a propaganda and economic war suggests that they have few other options. Propaganda mostly makes your own population less informed and stupid, not a real win in the long run. Economic war (sanctions, dollar restrictions) reduces economic activity and hurts most those who need constant GNP growth.

    Those two guys are definitely guilty of something. Their profile looks like classical low-level couriers (money in Geneva?), meet and greet, give a package, take a document, do some 'sight-seeing'. I just don't think smearing nerve agents in snowy Salisbury was the purpose of their visit. But, who knows, stranger things happened.

    , @reiner Tor

    I know that in any court, the prosecutor’s case will fall apart for having presented only circumstantial evidence and this should mean something.
     
    The novichok in the hotel room would not be exactly circumstantial. If the two Russian men were in British custody, there'd be matching DNA or lack thereof, which might decide the case either way.

    To be honest, I think a Hungarian court would already find them guilty based on the prosecution's story and the evidence corroborating it (including the novichok in the hotel room and the circumstances of their visit), but in Hungary the prosecution often manages to get the court convict a ham sandwich, so it means very little.

    Anyway, we're not a court, nor a jury. Nor have we been presented with all the evidence from either side - obviously they both have something up their sleeves.
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  157. Tyrion 2 says:
    @Anonymous
    I think we all probably underestimate the difficulty of pulling off these missions; killing the target is one thing, but the imperative to extract the operator (lest they fall into enemy hands and be subject to decades of solitary confinement/torture, inevitably resulting in the disclosure of state secrets) must severely limit the means available and make failure much more likely, if not the most likely outcome. The hundreds of failed anti-Castro plots by the CIA would be a good example of this.

    Additionally I think there may be a bit of a generation gap issue here: most of these intelligence agencies are headed by older baby boomers (people in their late 50s and up) who have not yet internalized the existence of the surveillance state. They just don't take into account that in a country like the UK everybody can be tracked from the moment they step off the plane until the moment they leave. Similar to the Israeli operation in Dubai; their exposure was predictable, and the resultant diplomatic row was in no way worth it for somebody who could have just as easily been killed with a car bomb (or whatever).

    Skripal wasn’t in hiding though. That makes all the difference.

    Read More
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  158. @reiner Tor

    I have myself made lots of trips

    absolutely nobody would believe
     
    If you’ve made lots of trips, then eminently it’d be believable that you wasted some of those.

    These guys have never been to England. Apparently they’d never been abroad. Did you plan your first trip abroad? After being unable to see what you wanted, were you totally unconcerned? Did you just cut your trip short without seeing... anything? Wouldn’t it psychologically be difficult to accept? Like you just spent a lot of money and you didn’t even get to see... anything at all? And then decided to go home quickly?

    Apparently they’d never been abroad.

    Intelligence agencies are investigating a series of trips by two Russian hitmen to Geneva prior to carrying out the nerve agent attack on Salisbury.

    Russian flight ticket details obtained by the Telegraph show Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov made at least six separate trips to the Swiss city in the run up to the assassination attempt on Sergei Skripal.

    Records show they booked nine separate flights to and from Geneva between November 2017 and February this year.

    Whitehall sources said establishing who they met in Geneva was now “absolutely key to the ongoing investigation”.

    The tickets suggest they visited Geneva, the hub of international diplomacy, during sensitive Syria peace talks hosted by the United Nations and facilitated by Russia in November and December 2017.

    They also show the hitmen travelling widely elsewhere in Europe from September 2016 when the Russian state issued them passports under their fake names up until March this year when they flew into London to try to kill Col Skripal.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/09/07/russian-hitmen-spent-weeks-geneva-nerve-agent-attack-sergei/

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    Them traveling abroad was crucial for my counter narrative that Russian media should have been pushing long time ago. It was in Switzerland that they were patsy-fied (see The Little Drummer Girl to learn how this can be done).

    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/the-virgin-multi-layered-alibi-vs-the-chad-on-the-spot-improvisation/#comment-2516271

    Russia must step up with counter narrative that is strong and aggressive:

    (1) This was a false flag assassination attempt (possibly a victimless hoax) organized by MI5 against Russia and Skripals were innocent patsies.

    (2) Petrov and Boshirov were lured to UK (read The Little Drummer Girl to learn how this can be done). Petrov and Boshirov are small time businessmen/crooks engaged in smuggling steroids and hormones were approached on their business trip to Switzerland to visit Salisbury for… gay sex orgy…Yes, they were innocent gays still in the closet because of Putin… who were taken advantaged of by unscrupulous British MI5.

    (3) Putin welcomes all gays to come out from the closets and legalizes gay sex orgies in Russia so innocent Russian citizens do not have to travel abroad where they could be risking being targeted by British MI5.
     
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  159. utu says:
    @for-the-record
    Apparently they’d never been abroad.

    Intelligence agencies are investigating a series of trips by two Russian hitmen to Geneva prior to carrying out the nerve agent attack on Salisbury.

    Russian flight ticket details obtained by the Telegraph show Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov made at least six separate trips to the Swiss city in the run up to the assassination attempt on Sergei Skripal.

    Records show they booked nine separate flights to and from Geneva between November 2017 and February this year.

    Whitehall sources said establishing who they met in Geneva was now “absolutely key to the ongoing investigation”.

    The tickets suggest they visited Geneva, the hub of international diplomacy, during sensitive Syria peace talks hosted by the United Nations and facilitated by Russia in November and December 2017.

    They also show the hitmen travelling widely elsewhere in Europe from September 2016 when the Russian state issued them passports under their fake names up until March this year when they flew into London to try to kill Col Skripal.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/09/07/russian-hitmen-spent-weeks-geneva-nerve-agent-attack-sergei/
     

    Them traveling abroad was crucial for my counter narrative that Russian media should have been pushing long time ago. It was in Switzerland that they were patsy-fied (see The Little Drummer Girl to learn how this can be done).

    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/the-virgin-multi-layered-alibi-vs-the-chad-on-the-spot-improvisation/#comment-2516271

    Russia must step up with counter narrative that is strong and aggressive:

    (1) This was a false flag assassination attempt (possibly a victimless hoax) organized by MI5 against Russia and Skripals were innocent patsies.

    (2) Petrov and Boshirov were lured to UK (read The Little Drummer Girl to learn how this can be done). Petrov and Boshirov are small time businessmen/crooks engaged in smuggling steroids and hormones were approached on their business trip to Switzerland to visit Salisbury for… gay sex orgy…Yes, they were innocent gays still in the closet because of Putin… who were taken advantaged of by unscrupulous British MI5.

    (3) Putin welcomes all gays to come out from the closets and legalizes gay sex orgies in Russia so innocent Russian citizens do not have to travel abroad where they could be risking being targeted by British MI5.

    Read More
    • Replies: @for-the-record
    Supporting your counter-narrative would be the apparent set up of George Papadopoulos in "Russiagate" by the Maltesese "academic" Joseph Mifsud:

    All Russiagate Roads Lead To London As Evidence Emerges Of Joseph Mifsud’s Links To UK Intelligence

    Over the last few months, Professor Joseph Mifsud has become a feather in the cap for those pushing the Trump-Russia narrative. He is characterized as a “Russian” intelligence asset in mainstream press, despite his declarations to the contrary. However, evidence has surfaced that suggests Mifsud was anything but a Russian spy, and may have actually worked for British intelligence. This new evidence culminates in the ground-breaking conclusion that the UK and its intelligence apparatus may be responsible for the invention of key pillars of the Trump-Russia scandal. If true, this would essentially turn the entire RussiaGate debacle on its head.

    https://disobedientmedia.com/2018/04/all-russiagate-roads-lead-to-london-as-evidence-emerges-of-joseph-mifsuds-links-to-uk-intelligence/

     

    Alas, it appears that Mr. Mifsud has dropped out of sight, at least for the foreseeable future:

    A missing Maltese professor who promised the Trump campaign “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the run-up to the presidential election may be dead, a US court has been told.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/russia-investigation-trump-campaign-collusion-joseph-mifsud-dead-professor-a8531421.html
     
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  160. utu says:
    @Simpleguest
    Suppose these two men are on trial and you are the judge.
    Here is what you would be presented with.

    Prosecutor: We have camera footage of these two men arriving in London and walking around the town of Salisbury at the time of the crime. They are with rather athletic constitution, and their whole physic resembles state (Russian) secret agents or at least hired thugs. So, they are perpetrators of the crime acting on order of the official Russian authorities.

    Defense: We are shown camera footage of two men arriving in London and walking around the town of Salisbury at the time of the crime.

    Would you be convinced beyond any reasonable doubt to convict them?

    I know that in any court, the prosecutor's case will fall apart for having presented only circumstantial evidence and this should mean something.

    The rest is up to every reader’s personal preferences.

    As far as I am concerned, I gradually stopped believing anything that comes out of Western mainstream starting with 2003 WMD (remember that) and ending with Libya and this whole sorry Syrian saga.

    There are no innocents only insufficiently interrogated.

    Read More
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  161. @utu
    Them traveling abroad was crucial for my counter narrative that Russian media should have been pushing long time ago. It was in Switzerland that they were patsy-fied (see The Little Drummer Girl to learn how this can be done).

    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/the-virgin-multi-layered-alibi-vs-the-chad-on-the-spot-improvisation/#comment-2516271

    Russia must step up with counter narrative that is strong and aggressive:

    (1) This was a false flag assassination attempt (possibly a victimless hoax) organized by MI5 against Russia and Skripals were innocent patsies.

    (2) Petrov and Boshirov were lured to UK (read The Little Drummer Girl to learn how this can be done). Petrov and Boshirov are small time businessmen/crooks engaged in smuggling steroids and hormones were approached on their business trip to Switzerland to visit Salisbury for… gay sex orgy…Yes, they were innocent gays still in the closet because of Putin… who were taken advantaged of by unscrupulous British MI5.

    (3) Putin welcomes all gays to come out from the closets and legalizes gay sex orgies in Russia so innocent Russian citizens do not have to travel abroad where they could be risking being targeted by British MI5.
     

    Supporting your counter-narrative would be the apparent set up of George Papadopoulos in “Russiagate” by the Maltesese “academic” Joseph Mifsud:

    All Russiagate Roads Lead To London As Evidence Emerges Of Joseph Mifsud’s Links To UK Intelligence

    Over the last few months, Professor Joseph Mifsud has become a feather in the cap for those pushing the Trump-Russia narrative. He is characterized as a “Russian” intelligence asset in mainstream press, despite his declarations to the contrary. However, evidence has surfaced that suggests Mifsud was anything but a Russian spy, and may have actually worked for British intelligence. This new evidence culminates in the ground-breaking conclusion that the UK and its intelligence apparatus may be responsible for the invention of key pillars of the Trump-Russia scandal. If true, this would essentially turn the entire RussiaGate debacle on its head.

    https://disobedientmedia.com/2018/04/all-russiagate-roads-lead-to-london-as-evidence-emerges-of-joseph-mifsuds-links-to-uk-intelligence/

    Alas, it appears that Mr. Mifsud has dropped out of sight, at least for the foreseeable future:

    A missing Maltese professor who promised the Trump campaign “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the run-up to the presidential election may be dead, a US court has been told.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/russia-investigation-trump-campaign-collusion-joseph-mifsud-dead-professor-a8531421.html

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    Yes, this can be incorporate into a narrative. A narrative for the PR war that Russia so far is doing everything to lose.
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  162. utu says:
    @for-the-record
    Supporting your counter-narrative would be the apparent set up of George Papadopoulos in "Russiagate" by the Maltesese "academic" Joseph Mifsud:

    All Russiagate Roads Lead To London As Evidence Emerges Of Joseph Mifsud’s Links To UK Intelligence

    Over the last few months, Professor Joseph Mifsud has become a feather in the cap for those pushing the Trump-Russia narrative. He is characterized as a “Russian” intelligence asset in mainstream press, despite his declarations to the contrary. However, evidence has surfaced that suggests Mifsud was anything but a Russian spy, and may have actually worked for British intelligence. This new evidence culminates in the ground-breaking conclusion that the UK and its intelligence apparatus may be responsible for the invention of key pillars of the Trump-Russia scandal. If true, this would essentially turn the entire RussiaGate debacle on its head.

    https://disobedientmedia.com/2018/04/all-russiagate-roads-lead-to-london-as-evidence-emerges-of-joseph-mifsuds-links-to-uk-intelligence/

     

    Alas, it appears that Mr. Mifsud has dropped out of sight, at least for the foreseeable future:

    A missing Maltese professor who promised the Trump campaign “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the run-up to the presidential election may be dead, a US court has been told.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/russia-investigation-trump-campaign-collusion-joseph-mifsud-dead-professor-a8531421.html
     

    Yes, this can be incorporate into a narrative. A narrative for the PR war that Russia so far is doing everything to lose.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Beckow

    ...A narrative for the PR war that Russia so far is doing everything to lose.
     
    What happens when you lose a PR war? Do you get occupied by screaming progressive journos and have to listen to their empathy-laden speeches? And march in sunshine with rainbow flags?

    If there is a war, winning or losing a PR war is irrelevant. That might be a clue to each side behavior.
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  163. Beckow says:
    @utu
    Yes, this can be incorporate into a narrative. A narrative for the PR war that Russia so far is doing everything to lose.

    …A narrative for the PR war that Russia so far is doing everything to lose.

    What happens when you lose a PR war? Do you get occupied by screaming progressive journos and have to listen to their empathy-laden speeches? And march in sunshine with rainbow flags?

    If there is a war, winning or losing a PR war is irrelevant. That might be a clue to each side behavior.

    Read More
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  164. Beckow says:
    @Simpleguest
    Suppose these two men are on trial and you are the judge.
    Here is what you would be presented with.

    Prosecutor: We have camera footage of these two men arriving in London and walking around the town of Salisbury at the time of the crime. They are with rather athletic constitution, and their whole physic resembles state (Russian) secret agents or at least hired thugs. So, they are perpetrators of the crime acting on order of the official Russian authorities.

    Defense: We are shown camera footage of two men arriving in London and walking around the town of Salisbury at the time of the crime.

    Would you be convinced beyond any reasonable doubt to convict them?

    I know that in any court, the prosecutor's case will fall apart for having presented only circumstantial evidence and this should mean something.

    The rest is up to every reader’s personal preferences.

    As far as I am concerned, I gradually stopped believing anything that comes out of Western mainstream starting with 2003 WMD (remember that) and ending with Libya and this whole sorry Syrian saga.

    I suspect a British judge would convict them, if he knows what is good for him. They would throw in secret evidence, mostly allusions to moles in Russia’s security services who ‘told us‘. And media would go into a frenzy.

    Rule #1 in conflict situations (like quasi wars we have today) is to choose the territory to fight on. Choose the areas where you have an advantage. West has – and always will have – media and judicial dominance at home. That is incontestable and no amount of clever ‘PR’ by any outsider can change it. On the other hand, West is not dominant when crawling with guns through dusty side streets of Palmyra, or making sure that homes in Ukraine are heated during a freezing winter.

    I suspect like all rational players, Russia focuses its resources where it has an advantage. The recent hysterical Western descend into a propaganda and economic war suggests that they have few other options. Propaganda mostly makes your own population less informed and stupid, not a real win in the long run. Economic war (sanctions, dollar restrictions) reduces economic activity and hurts most those who need constant GNP growth.

    Those two guys are definitely guilty of something. Their profile looks like classical low-level couriers (money in Geneva?), meet and greet, give a package, take a document, do some ‘sight-seeing’. I just don’t think smearing nerve agents in snowy Salisbury was the purpose of their visit. But, who knows, stranger things happened.

    Read More
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  165. Antiwar7 says:
    @al gore rhythms
    Do you find it odd to to choose a place 1500 miles away in Winter as a destination for a weekend break?

    What is the furthest you have travelled for a long weekend in the Winter?

    March is barely winter, and the winters in England are mild. I’ve seen blooming flowers there in December, and people sitting outside in cafes.

    The distance doesn’t matter; it’s just a plane ride. They have money from their business, and presumably no kids, so they have time to do what they want. I don’t find it unbelievable at all.

    Read More
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  166. Antiwar7 says:
    @reiner Tor
    They traveled from Moscow. Do they live in Moscow? If yes, how could they have been intimidated by such snow? Even the Germans did better in their summer uniforms in 1941. At Moscow, not in the lukewarm British winter with some minimal snow.

    I understand that even minimal snow often breaks down the unaccustomed British public transport systems, but come on. We’re talking about a couple of guys who made spontaneous decisions about suddenly traveling a few thousand kilometers. Could they not come up with a plan B? Like walking to the cathedral. Or going to a bar for a few drinks. Did they drink anything? Did cameras catch them in a bar?

    I bet you their bosses stole the money allocated to the project, and that’s why they were given a hotel room in a shitty hotel, and probably had to eat sandwiches all the time.

    The story is obviously unbelievable.

    Um, they were wet, and thus uncomfortable. You’re comparing two guys on a lark to soldiers in the German army?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Beckow

    ....You’re comparing two guys on a lark to soldiers in the German army?
     
    Exactly. We make a mistake of projecting too much into this. Two guys took a weekend trip to UK and all kinds of things happened. My guess would be that they were in Salisbury to deliver or pick up something. Or possibly they enjoy train rides through countryside. So they went twice. There is a long way from that to smearing door-knobs with nerve agents. Without better evidence only a show trial would convict them.
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  167. Antiwar7 says:
    @reiner Tor
    They traveled from Moscow. Do they live in Moscow? If yes, how could they have been intimidated by such snow? Even the Germans did better in their summer uniforms in 1941. At Moscow, not in the lukewarm British winter with some minimal snow.

    I understand that even minimal snow often breaks down the unaccustomed British public transport systems, but come on. We’re talking about a couple of guys who made spontaneous decisions about suddenly traveling a few thousand kilometers. Could they not come up with a plan B? Like walking to the cathedral. Or going to a bar for a few drinks. Did they drink anything? Did cameras catch them in a bar?

    I bet you their bosses stole the money allocated to the project, and that’s why they were given a hotel room in a shitty hotel, and probably had to eat sandwiches all the time.

    The story is obviously unbelievable.

    Also, if they were on a mission, why would getting wet deter them?

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    It wouldn’t. It probably didn’t. They had to return for some other reasons.
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  168. Beckow says:
    @Antiwar7
    Um, they were wet, and thus uncomfortable. You're comparing two guys on a lark to soldiers in the German army?

    ….You’re comparing two guys on a lark to soldiers in the German army?

    Exactly. We make a mistake of projecting too much into this. Two guys took a weekend trip to UK and all kinds of things happened. My guess would be that they were in Salisbury to deliver or pick up something. Or possibly they enjoy train rides through countryside. So they went twice. There is a long way from that to smearing door-knobs with nerve agents. Without better evidence only a show trial would convict them.

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  169. ValmMond says:

    As any good litigation attorney would tell you, the defense would rarely put on the stand or let their accused client testify about his own case. Even (and especially) if they are convinced of his innocence. Tension, stress and lack of experience can easily be misinterpreted by a jury as lying. I know people who collapse under the slightest psychological pressure and start confessing “guilt” for non-existent misbehavior and imaginary crimes.

    Putin precipitated this PR disaster himself. He might be many things but he’s not stupid or reckless. Among other things, he’s also a trained lawyer.
    Two and only two scenarios are possible:
    1) This is simply a gambit in the bigger information chess game. Sacrifice a piece for a positional advantage that will become obvious later in the game.
    2) Putin has decided that the truth is better than any strategy and he improvises as he goes, without trying to embellish or spin. Throw these 2 characters out in the open and let the chips fall where they may. After all, no evidence has been presented so far that they were involved in the attempted Skripals’ poisoning.

    P.S. Gay or GRU agents – you have to chose. Russian military intelligence is not your Western army unit doubling as an LGBT mental day-care institution. Sexual deviants and psychologically unstable individuals are discarded at the early stages of a rigorous selection.

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    • Replies: @Beckow

    Putin has decided that the truth is better than any strategy
     
    Truth may eventually prevail, but I think this is managed on a lower level in Russia's hierarchy. I suspect that Kremlin perceives the increasingly hysterical Western media attacks as irrelevant and they simply don't engage with them.

    There is a basic problem with trying to have a discussion with anyone who thinks they are God. Historically claiming that we are exceptional, we are special, we are always virtuous, blabla... has been done by people who claimed divine or semi-divine status. Vocabulary might be less direct today, but the idea is the same. The problem with arguing with 'Gods' is that they are not there, they live in their own heads, have no intention to listen to facts. They want to preach, as is appropriate for divine, superior beings. The bottom line is that a discussion or trying to establish some common facts is literally impossible.

    Russian military intelligence is not your Western army unit doubling as an LGBT mental day-care institution.
     
    Maybe, but that doesn't exclude using LGBT as a cover.
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  170. ValmMond says:
    @Max Payne
    What's so suspicious about this?

    This is a perfectly normal reaction innocent (possibly gay) individuals would have when realizing they've been accused of something of this magnitude. Frustrated, confused, trying to get the whole story out but also afraid of saying the wrong things and being spun.

    I'm sure being guys heavy into supplements they may have done some shady things here and there and are genuinely afraid of shining light on that.

    Possibly selling steroids or kits to bypass performance-enhancing substance tests. Maybe to even well-known athletes.

    Bad timing on their part is all.

    They might be gay. But in this case, they are certainly not GRU assassins on a mission.
    Russian secret services sift out the wheat from shaft (so to speak). Even in the rare instances where homosexuality is not a symptom of underlying mental instability, it poses allegiances and impulse-control problems.

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  171. Antiwar7 says:
    @Max Payne
    What's so suspicious about this?

    This is a perfectly normal reaction innocent (possibly gay) individuals would have when realizing they've been accused of something of this magnitude. Frustrated, confused, trying to get the whole story out but also afraid of saying the wrong things and being spun.

    I'm sure being guys heavy into supplements they may have done some shady things here and there and are genuinely afraid of shining light on that.

    Possibly selling steroids or kits to bypass performance-enhancing substance tests. Maybe to even well-known athletes.

    Bad timing on their part is all.

    Exactly. A planned appearance before the media, by secret services, would go much more smoothly, and would do retakes as necessary. The fact that it wasn’t smooth is evidence that they’re not guilty.

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  172. Jon0815 says:

    I have solved the case. Yulia did it.

    This is what happened:

    Yulia goes through Customs with two boxes of women’s perfume containing novichok.

    On the day of the attack, before she and Sergei leave for downtown Salisbury, she sprays novichok on the doorknob. This is not intended to be the actual means by which Sergei is poisoned, and it isn’t- it is done to mislead the subsequent police investigation. *

    When she and Sergei leave, she takes both bottles with her in her purse, and because she now knows the first bottle works, she throws the backup bottle away (still in its sealed box) someplace where it is later found by the male druggie

    In downtown Salisbury, Yulia exposes Sergei and herself to novichok, and both collapse a few minutes later (but not before Yulia has managed to toss the the first bottle away somewhere). Possibly she was intending a murder/suicide, or possibly she only meant to poison him and screwed up.

    UK government is keeping Yulia under wraps because when they interviewed her, there were problems with her story that caused them to suspect she is guilty, And while theoretically they could claim she was acting on Putin’s orders, the Narrative is better served by pinning it on the two gay tourists (the supposed novichok traces in their hotel room were either not actually novichok, or were planted).

    This scenario neatly explains why CCTV apparently failed to capture anyone approaching the Skripal home to apply the poison the doorknob, as well as the long gap between the supposed doorknob exposure and sudden simultaneous onset of symptoms in both Skripals hours later. And also, the unlikely coincidence of the attack occurring while Sergei’s daughter was with him.

    Therefore, it is almost surely correct. Case closed.

    * Seriously, I have wondered if the doorknob novichok was placed there by one of the assassins (whoever they might be), but only after the Skripals had already left, as a backup plan.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Yulia goes through Customs with two boxes of women’s perfume containing novichok.
     
    Where did she get it? This explanation already reflects somewhat badly on Russia - they don’t seem to control their chemical laboratories well.

    the doorknob novichok was placed there by one of the assassins (whoever they might be), but only after the Skripals had already left, as a backup plan.
     
    As a backup plan, or as you suggested above, to mislead the investigation. That makes sense.
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  173. Beckow says:
    @ValmMond
    As any good litigation attorney would tell you, the defense would rarely put on the stand or let their accused client testify about his own case. Even (and especially) if they are convinced of his innocence. Tension, stress and lack of experience can easily be misinterpreted by a jury as lying. I know people who collapse under the slightest psychological pressure and start confessing "guilt" for non-existent misbehavior and imaginary crimes.

    Putin precipitated this PR disaster himself. He might be many things but he's not stupid or reckless. Among other things, he's also a trained lawyer.
    Two and only two scenarios are possible:
    1) This is simply a gambit in the bigger information chess game. Sacrifice a piece for a positional advantage that will become obvious later in the game.
    2) Putin has decided that the truth is better than any strategy and he improvises as he goes, without trying to embellish or spin. Throw these 2 characters out in the open and let the chips fall where they may. After all, no evidence has been presented so far that they were involved in the attempted Skripals' poisoning.

    P.S. Gay or GRU agents - you have to chose. Russian military intelligence is not your Western army unit doubling as an LGBT mental day-care institution. Sexual deviants and psychologically unstable individuals are discarded at the early stages of a rigorous selection.

    Putin has decided that the truth is better than any strategy

    Truth may eventually prevail, but I think this is managed on a lower level in Russia’s hierarchy. I suspect that Kremlin perceives the increasingly hysterical Western media attacks as irrelevant and they simply don’t engage with them.

    There is a basic problem with trying to have a discussion with anyone who thinks they are God. Historically claiming that we are exceptional, we are special, we are always virtuous, blabla… has been done by people who claimed divine or semi-divine status. Vocabulary might be less direct today, but the idea is the same. The problem with arguing with ‘Gods’ is that they are not there, they live in their own heads, have no intention to listen to facts. They want to preach, as is appropriate for divine, superior beings. The bottom line is that a discussion or trying to establish some common facts is literally impossible.

    Russian military intelligence is not your Western army unit doubling as an LGBT mental day-care institution.

    Maybe, but that doesn’t exclude using LGBT as a cover.

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  174. notanon says:

    i think one thing everyone should be able to agree on is the interview dispels any idea that they’re not spooks

    (phrenology is real and they are both on the border line between cop-face and psycho-face)

    so…

    1) they are moscow hoods

    2) i don’t believe the assassination story for a second

    3) so why would Moscow put on this charade?

    the only explanation i can come up with is these two were doing something politically worse than an assassination

    i’m beginning to think Moscow was set up – tempted to incriminate themselves before Idbil.

    i’m on the same side over the Syria thing but i’m almost proud – perfidious Albion at their best?

    if correct it prob means Novichok will be used in the next false flag attack in Syria.

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  175. notanon says:
    @Digital Samizdat
    I still don't by London's Skripal story, but it has to be admitted that this interview was a propaganda coup for the UK. There's nothing directly linking these two guys to the Skripals, but they seem cagey about their "business" activities, which makes them look suspicious. They may well be FSB men who were lured to Salisbury, then set up to take the fall for a (near) murder. From the start, there were rumors going around that Sergei Skripal was unhappy in the UK and wanted to re-defect. Maybe that's what lured the FSB there. If so, whoops!

    Get ready, Mitleser: you will soon be paying through the nose for fracked-gas from the US.

    From the start, there were rumors going around that Sergei Skripal was unhappy in the UK and wanted to re-defect.

    bait

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  176. Mikhail says: • Website
    @reiner Tor
    I didn’t watch the interview, but what I saw about the transcript... it’s just bizarre.

    The folks at The Duran thought it was great work by Simonyan in debunking the Brit government claim:

    http://theduran.com/uk-nerve-agent-case-against-russia-collapses-video/

    It’s highlighted that these two men indicate that their Brit reported names aren’t fictitious, thereby conflicting with what the Brit government said.

    It’s also noted that their stated non-clarity of the kind of outside of Russia connected work they do might relate to a possible sexual preference matter concerning the two.

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  177. Mikhail says: • Website
    @blahbahblah
    Or, Russia had nothing to do with it and they(and RT) are stupid enough to fall into a black PR trap.

    While things may be tight at the top, I honestly think the Russia has a huge infiltration problem now.

    Or, Russia had nothing to do with it and they(and RT) are stupid enough to fall into a black PR trap.

    While things may be tight at the top, I honestly think the Russia has a huge infiltration problem now.

    At play is too much phony, crony, baloney, it’s not what you know, but who you know as in who is your rabbi – used to note how some advance over others. that very definition has been used on the NBC TV series Law and order SVU and is known among my police friends.

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  178. Mikhail says: • Website
    @Anatoly Karlin
    Possibly.

    But thanks to the Galactic Brains at RT, we now even have otherwise extremely "Russophile" people such as reiner Tor seriously reassessing who was behind the Syrian chemical weapons attacks.

    Clashing with Alexander Mercouris, who contrary to what you suggested (at another thread), isn’t out of the RT fold.

    Otherwise, I can’t disagree that RT is at times is off the mark in some instances.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Sorry but where did I suggest that Mercouris is "out of the RT fold"?
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  179. Mikhail says: • Website
    @reiner Tor
    For the record, even if Assad is “murdering its own people with chemical weapons,” he’s still the lesser evil. So Russia is correct to support it.

    But this Skripal affair certainly created a serious credibility problem for Russia. How can you believe what Russians say now? More seriously, how can you believe they even understand what they are doing or saying? It’s like when my three year old daughter says something she heard on TV: you cannot be sure she even understands what she is saying.

    Tinfoil hat theory: the Americans are using something to damage the decision-making of the Russian leadership. Some kind of biological weapon affecting their brains.

    As I noted at this thread, that Simonyan interview wasn’t such a great disaster.

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  180. Mikhail says: • Website

    Even Simonyan! As the person behind the success of English RT and the one with most to lose if RT is banned, I think it very far from probable she failed to make Putin aware exactly how this interview would make Russia look.

    How do you know that’s how she feels? She has given McFaul more attention than some people who know how to best debunk him.

    Who hired and paid tens of thousands to Liz Wahl, while being cheapy creepy with much better alternatives?

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  181. Mikhail says: • Website
    @Dmitry
    After watching this interview with these two soldiers above, I feel there is not sense of mystery.

    Mission itself, is very normal, and something that many intelligence agencies around the world are doing, or want to do. "If you live with a sword, you die by a sword". (I think every traitor is aware when they enter into this business).

    The problem is it was organized and executed, by inadequate people in every way. (Human capital is not at James Bond level to say it mildly). Then you can add some bad luck, and overreaction.

    And then PR aftermath is managed with the same skill level as the mission organization itself. It's a skill level which should better be understood as "anti-skill". It is as far as possible distance from any concept of skill.

    The intention was not matched by skill level. When you see the human capital involved, then outcome it's not surprising.

    At least it provides today a lot of material for jokes.

    On the subject of James Bond and Gays, Mercouris noted (in the linked Duran video which I posted at this thread), that there’re two homosexual assassins in Diamonds Are Forever.

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  182. Mikhail says: • Website
    @Cagey Beast
    The lingering one of whether this GRU hit was a “private” criminal one, or ordered by Putin. (In all fairness, this is now of largely academic interest. The Kremlin have just painted a bulls-eye on themselves).

    Why do you assume it was the GRU? Could these two not have been sent to kill Skirpal by Russian civilians for private reasons?

    https://twitter.com/yashalevine/status/1040402192501366784

    Note that Putin said he’s now aware of these two and that they didn’t do any wrong, in addition to not being GRU.

    The burden of proof remains on the Brits.

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  183. Mikhail says: • Website
    @E. Harding
    I thought the evidence of Syrian government culpability in the August 2013 chemical weapons attacks was strong ever since about a month after the incident. The April 2017 and 2018 attacks had less clear evidence to suggest they were committed by the Syrian government, but there was no strong evidence contradicting the US account of these, as far as I can remember.

    I thought the evidence of Syrian government culpability in the August 2013 chemical weapons attacks was strong ever since about a month after the incident. The April 2017 and 2018 attacks had less clear evidence to suggest they were committed by the Syrian government, but there was no strong evidence contradicting the US account of these, as far as I can remember.

    No such strong evidence, unless influenced by neocon/neolib BS.

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  184. Mikhail says: • Website
    @Sean
    It was not just the exGRU man who was the target. If it was Russian gang bosses in Moscow who needed him dead and quick they would just have made a phone call and a Russian goon (there are more than a few of those in London) would have went to his house and shot him dead with a silenced pistol. If it was a revenge and not urgent they could have got him on one of his trips to London and tortured him for information then disappeared him, or if that was too difficult staged a mugging or a car accident or suicide .

    Going through passport control within days of the killing and then returning past the Special Branch and Mi5 in the airport after the attack with the security nowadays is a very, very unlikely way of getting away with anything for a criminal; much better to go to ground in London. Given MI5 might be alerted to know of a Russian connection before they could get to the airport, as Russians on an unusually short trip they could easily have been stopped, especially as they are both muscular and tough looking enough for men in their forties to be looked at twice. Paranoia is the criminal equivalent of intelligence and a gangster would not have taken such risks or needed to.

    Whoever sent them knew his daughter was there having just traveled from Russia for a visit. Quite possibly an unspoken intention was to kill not just him, but his daughter at the same time and in Britain. Trotsky founded the GRU and he Trotsky won the Civil War not with the advanced industrial proletariat (as he originally theorised ) but with Tsarist officers whose families were held hostage for their good behaviour. Russia cannot stop their people being attracted to Western money and the promise of being exchanged if they are caught, but the implied threat of their families being marked for death is something that would give anyone pause. The CIA has reported their Russian sources have went silent. Putin has no doubt congratulated the GRU on a successful operation.

    More believable that Skripal might’ve pissed off some Russian/former Soviet ex-pat in the UK who is anti-Putin.

    If true, it’s matter of hitting two birds in one shot. It’s also possible that Skripal didn’t really piss off any Russian/former Soviet ex-pat. If so, he was seen as a kind of necessary collateral damage.

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  185. Mikhail says: • Website
    @Dmitry
    From the interview, they seem just the most obvious soldiers/security forces - their personality, way they look, whole manner of these people, even their faces, is of some low level security force people (not intelligent versions).

    These are not gothic architecture fans. These morons are travelling thousands of kilometers for their love of cathedral architecture?

    These are people who if they try to be undercover cops, all the criminals would know they were police just from their faces.

    I think it's wrong angle however. Intelligence agencies punish traitors is happening by every country, all the time, without any discord.

    Problem here was some incompetence, combined with UK overdramatization, from the excuses for sanctions they have already planned for Russia.

    Other intelligence agencies of the world are doing the same actions all over the world, far more often, and without any media or political attention.

    Really noone should care about this, apart from the UK. It's "business as normal". Most major powers are doing these actions themselves, although maybe in the America they can afford to pay a high enough salary to hire people who are more like James Bond, and less like this embarrassing two.

    Not so according to Mercouris.

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  186. Mikhail says: • Website
    @LondonBob
    The calls to shut it down show it does concern people. RTUK could do with less limp wristed lefties but any alternative voices are welcome, already have enough issues with the serious attempts to shut down the internet. My Mum occasionally flicks on RT and the Syrian coverage has definitely impacted her, unfortunately not as much as her daily dose of neoconism from The Times has though.
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  187. Read More
    • Replies: @for-the-record
    Could this be true? A message to the West? “We’re crazy!”

    I assume you read the Bellingcat report? They couldn't really be this amateurish, could they?

    https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2018/09/14/skripal-poisoning-suspects-passport-data-shows-link-security-services/
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  188. @reiner Tor
    Could this be true? A message to the West? “We’re crazy!”

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/salisbury-novichok-attack-suspects-passport-russia-skripal-putin-petrov-boshirov-a8539666.html

    Could this be true? A message to the West? “We’re crazy!”

    I assume you read the Bellingcat report? They couldn’t really be this amateurish, could they?

    https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2018/09/14/skripal-poisoning-suspects-passport-data-shows-link-security-services/

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    • Replies: @Jon0815
    Lots of Russians posting alleged debunkings of Bellingcat claims on twitter and elsewhere. The number 195-79-66 on the form is said to not be a phone number but actually a code. And that while the GRU phone number is 195-55-00, the phone number matching the number on the form supposedly belongs to a mattress company. Also, the form was leaked or hacked, so there is no way to verify its authenticity, you just have to trust Bellingcat and their source. So I have no idea what the truth is. Normally one would rely on investigative journalists to get to the bottom of it, but when it comes to Russia, Western media are basically just stenographers for the government.

    My guess is that it is probably true the suspects are civilians, not Military Intelligence officers, although they might be sometimes employed by the GRU as low-level couriers or something.

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  189. Jon0815 says:
    @for-the-record
    Could this be true? A message to the West? “We’re crazy!”

    I assume you read the Bellingcat report? They couldn't really be this amateurish, could they?

    https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2018/09/14/skripal-poisoning-suspects-passport-data-shows-link-security-services/

    Lots of Russians posting alleged debunkings of Bellingcat claims on twitter and elsewhere. The number 195-79-66 on the form is said to not be a phone number but actually a code. And that while the GRU phone number is 195-55-00, the phone number matching the number on the form supposedly belongs to a mattress company. Also, the form was leaked or hacked, so there is no way to verify its authenticity, you just have to trust Bellingcat and their source. So I have no idea what the truth is. Normally one would rely on investigative journalists to get to the bottom of it, but when it comes to Russia, Western media are basically just stenographers for the government.

    My guess is that it is probably true the suspects are civilians, not Military Intelligence officers, although they might be sometimes employed by the GRU as low-level couriers or something.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    The Bellingcat claims might be false.

    Anyway, could you guys point me to interviews with their neighbors or acquaintances? Even anonymous ones. I guess it’s not a big task for the tabloid press and media to talk to them. It’s been several days now, and they must have lots of people corroborating their story, from former school friends to current hairdressers. Some of them might want to stay anonymous, but in general people like talking to the media about some part of their inconsequential lives, because that makes them feel important, or because they don’t know how to get rid of the reporters and talking to them seems like the easiest way out.

    So there must be a lot of information about these two hapless guys.
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  190. @Mikhail
    Clashing with Alexander Mercouris, who contrary to what you suggested (at another thread), isn't out of the RT fold.

    Otherwise, I can't disagree that RT is at times is off the mark in some instances.

    Sorry but where did I suggest that Mercouris is “out of the RT fold”?

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    • Replies: @Mikhail
    You had a posted comment within the past few months saying that AM doesn't get too much RT play on account of (what I took) as a cronyism which you attribute to propping comparatively mediocre input. I expressed disagreement noting that there could be more to his not being on RT as often. (Not that he's so limited on that score.). You put my answer in the More category, which (as you said) is your way of belittling input.
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  191. Mikhail says: • Website
    @Anatoly Karlin
    Sorry but where did I suggest that Mercouris is "out of the RT fold"?

    You had a posted comment within the past few months saying that AM doesn’t get too much RT play on account of (what I took) as a cronyism which you attribute to propping comparatively mediocre input. I expressed disagreement noting that there could be more to his not being on RT as often. (Not that he’s so limited on that score.). You put my answer in the More category, which (as you said) is your way of belittling input.

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  192. Talha says:

    “We did not the kill him, we like the clocks but we are also not the gay…”

    Peace.

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  193. @Jon0815
    Lots of Russians posting alleged debunkings of Bellingcat claims on twitter and elsewhere. The number 195-79-66 on the form is said to not be a phone number but actually a code. And that while the GRU phone number is 195-55-00, the phone number matching the number on the form supposedly belongs to a mattress company. Also, the form was leaked or hacked, so there is no way to verify its authenticity, you just have to trust Bellingcat and their source. So I have no idea what the truth is. Normally one would rely on investigative journalists to get to the bottom of it, but when it comes to Russia, Western media are basically just stenographers for the government.

    My guess is that it is probably true the suspects are civilians, not Military Intelligence officers, although they might be sometimes employed by the GRU as low-level couriers or something.

    The Bellingcat claims might be false.

    Anyway, could you guys point me to interviews with their neighbors or acquaintances? Even anonymous ones. I guess it’s not a big task for the tabloid press and media to talk to them. It’s been several days now, and they must have lots of people corroborating their story, from former school friends to current hairdressers. Some of them might want to stay anonymous, but in general people like talking to the media about some part of their inconsequential lives, because that makes them feel important, or because they don’t know how to get rid of the reporters and talking to them seems like the easiest way out.

    So there must be a lot of information about these two hapless guys.

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  194. @Jon0815
    I have solved the case. Yulia did it.

    This is what happened:

    Yulia goes through Customs with two boxes of women's perfume containing novichok.

    On the day of the attack, before she and Sergei leave for downtown Salisbury, she sprays novichok on the doorknob. This is not intended to be the actual means by which Sergei is poisoned, and it isn't- it is done to mislead the subsequent police investigation. *

    When she and Sergei leave, she takes both bottles with her in her purse, and because she now knows the first bottle works, she throws the backup bottle away (still in its sealed box) someplace where it is later found by the male druggie

    In downtown Salisbury, Yulia exposes Sergei and herself to novichok, and both collapse a few minutes later (but not before Yulia has managed to toss the the first bottle away somewhere). Possibly she was intending a murder/suicide, or possibly she only meant to poison him and screwed up.

    UK government is keeping Yulia under wraps because when they interviewed her, there were problems with her story that caused them to suspect she is guilty, And while theoretically they could claim she was acting on Putin's orders, the Narrative is better served by pinning it on the two gay tourists (the supposed novichok traces in their hotel room were either not actually novichok, or were planted).

    This scenario neatly explains why CCTV apparently failed to capture anyone approaching the Skripal home to apply the poison the doorknob, as well as the long gap between the supposed doorknob exposure and sudden simultaneous onset of symptoms in both Skripals hours later. And also, the unlikely coincidence of the attack occurring while Sergei's daughter was with him.

    Therefore, it is almost surely correct. Case closed.

    * Seriously, I have wondered if the doorknob novichok was placed there by one of the assassins (whoever they might be), but only after the Skripals had already left, as a backup plan.

    Yulia goes through Customs with two boxes of women’s perfume containing novichok.

    Where did she get it? This explanation already reflects somewhat badly on Russia – they don’t seem to control their chemical laboratories well.

    the doorknob novichok was placed there by one of the assassins (whoever they might be), but only after the Skripals had already left, as a backup plan.

    As a backup plan, or as you suggested above, to mislead the investigation. That makes sense.

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  195. SIMONYAN: If you give us your pictures, we can show them. So, while you were in Salisbury, did you go anywhere near the Skripals home?

    Did they show the photos they took at the cathedral? Or are they still complaining that the British won’t show the CCTV images from the cathedral? I think one point in their favor would be if they could show those touristy pictures they took at the cathedral. Or anywhere else.

    You go on a trip but don’t take any pictures: this happens, but it’s not very common.

    Read More
    • Replies: @LondonBob
    It is for the prosecution to show evidence. So far we CCTV of the two people behaving exactly like tourists on one day in Salisbury, wandering about looking at things, really unconnected to the Skripals. We have a claim of the use of a highly deadly and fast acting chemical weapon, which was neither of these things in this case. Oh and some photos from the airport which shows they flew direct and on the same plane, just like tourists. Thin gruel.
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  196. @Antiwar7
    Also, if they were on a mission, why would getting wet deter them?

    It wouldn’t. It probably didn’t. They had to return for some other reasons.

    Read More
    • Replies: @LondonBob
    Salisbury was snowed in and having the wrong clothes they went straight back to London and shopped and did stuff there instead. They returned to Salisbury again the next day and were only able to see the Cathedral before having to head back and catch their flight.
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  197. LondonBob says:

    If Bellingcat is getting involved then we have confirmation that this is all a fraud, a pretty obvious one at that.

    Sorry they are not GRU agents.
    - GRU will never send two agents in the same plane
    - GRU will never send two agents the same day
    - GRU will never use a direct flight Moscow-London
    - GRU will not house two agents in the same hotel
    - GRU will not allow them to use public transportation system
    - GRU will not take these two asset back in Russia using the same plane.
    And so on, and so on, this story is a farce.

    When you send agents for such a mission first you send a recce team to prepare it, set up a plan with the most discreet and fast “in” and “out”.
    Then you send someone to rent a car with a false identity.
    When the agents are “in” they get back the car with directive inside, without meeting anybody. No contact in a foreign country!
    And it is a “one shot” mission, if it failed, stop it and set up a new one with other agents.

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  198. LondonBob says:
    @reiner Tor
    It wouldn’t. It probably didn’t. They had to return for some other reasons.

    Salisbury was snowed in and having the wrong clothes they went straight back to London and shopped and did stuff there instead. They returned to Salisbury again the next day and were only able to see the Cathedral before having to head back and catch their flight.

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  199. LondonBob says:
    @reiner Tor

    SIMONYAN: If you give us your pictures, we can show them. So, while you were in Salisbury, did you go anywhere near the Skripals home?
     
    Did they show the photos they took at the cathedral? Or are they still complaining that the British won’t show the CCTV images from the cathedral? I think one point in their favor would be if they could show those touristy pictures they took at the cathedral. Or anywhere else.

    You go on a trip but don’t take any pictures: this happens, but it’s not very common.

    It is for the prosecution to show evidence. So far we CCTV of the two people behaving exactly like tourists on one day in Salisbury, wandering about looking at things, really unconnected to the Skripals. We have a claim of the use of a highly deadly and fast acting chemical weapon, which was neither of these things in this case. Oh and some photos from the airport which shows they flew direct and on the same plane, just like tourists. Thin gruel.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Well, the prosecution will only show its evidence at a court, so I guess we won't solve this by legalistic arguments alone.

    So far it's only what we think is plausible. Unfortunately while the British case is not exactly compelling, the Russian case is even less so.
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  200. notanon says:

    ex spy
    “hey guys i want to visit my sick mom in Russia can i come back to visit?”
    gru
    “no, f**k off”
    ex-spy
    “i have cultivated an agent inside porton down – i will trade him to you if i can visit my mom”
    gru
    “prove it f**kface”
    ex-spy
    “send some dudes for a face to face”
    gru
    “bah, okay but you better not be lying”
    MI5 wing of the neocon international
    “gotcha”

    Read More
    • Replies: @notanon
    obviously doing this in the context of the neocon international trying to frame Ruskiland for CW violations would be amazingly dumb but i imagine the chance of getting an agent inside porton down might be that tempting?

    on the surface i'd say it's dumb enough to possibly be a deliberate anti-Putin move but i could just about imagine someone being tempted despite the Syrian context.
    , @Beckow
    2 issues:

    - I cannot imagine GRU (or any grown-up) falling for that, way too risky
    - nobody would send those two dudes for a 'face-to-face', they can handle packages, maybe money, but not anything to do with actual humans
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  201. notanon says:
    @notanon
    ex spy
    "hey guys i want to visit my sick mom in Russia can i come back to visit?"
    gru
    "no, f**k off"
    ex-spy
    "i have cultivated an agent inside porton down - i will trade him to you if i can visit my mom"
    gru
    "prove it f**kface"
    ex-spy
    "send some dudes for a face to face"
    gru
    "bah, okay but you better not be lying"
    MI5 wing of the neocon international
    "gotcha"

    obviously doing this in the context of the neocon international trying to frame Ruskiland for CW violations would be amazingly dumb but i imagine the chance of getting an agent inside porton down might be that tempting?

    on the surface i’d say it’s dumb enough to possibly be a deliberate anti-Putin move but i could just about imagine someone being tempted despite the Syrian context.

    Read More
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  202. @LondonBob
    It is for the prosecution to show evidence. So far we CCTV of the two people behaving exactly like tourists on one day in Salisbury, wandering about looking at things, really unconnected to the Skripals. We have a claim of the use of a highly deadly and fast acting chemical weapon, which was neither of these things in this case. Oh and some photos from the airport which shows they flew direct and on the same plane, just like tourists. Thin gruel.

    Well, the prosecution will only show its evidence at a court, so I guess we won’t solve this by legalistic arguments alone.

    So far it’s only what we think is plausible. Unfortunately while the British case is not exactly compelling, the Russian case is even less so.

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  203. @Simpleguest
    Suppose these two men are on trial and you are the judge.
    Here is what you would be presented with.

    Prosecutor: We have camera footage of these two men arriving in London and walking around the town of Salisbury at the time of the crime. They are with rather athletic constitution, and their whole physic resembles state (Russian) secret agents or at least hired thugs. So, they are perpetrators of the crime acting on order of the official Russian authorities.

    Defense: We are shown camera footage of two men arriving in London and walking around the town of Salisbury at the time of the crime.

    Would you be convinced beyond any reasonable doubt to convict them?

    I know that in any court, the prosecutor's case will fall apart for having presented only circumstantial evidence and this should mean something.

    The rest is up to every reader’s personal preferences.

    As far as I am concerned, I gradually stopped believing anything that comes out of Western mainstream starting with 2003 WMD (remember that) and ending with Libya and this whole sorry Syrian saga.

    I know that in any court, the prosecutor’s case will fall apart for having presented only circumstantial evidence and this should mean something.

    The novichok in the hotel room would not be exactly circumstantial. If the two Russian men were in British custody, there’d be matching DNA or lack thereof, which might decide the case either way.

    To be honest, I think a Hungarian court would already find them guilty based on the prosecution’s story and the evidence corroborating it (including the novichok in the hotel room and the circumstances of their visit), but in Hungary the prosecution often manages to get the court convict a ham sandwich, so it means very little.

    Anyway, we’re not a court, nor a jury. Nor have we been presented with all the evidence from either side – obviously they both have something up their sleeves.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Beckow
    If they go to court, UK will present secret evidence from their 'sources' and that would be it. We wouldn't know much more than we know now. (Secret tribunals are a b..tch.)

    As evidence, proving novichok in their hotel room would be sufficient. But UK's story is very evasive, a test that couldn't be repeated, hotel rooms due to cleaning have organo-phosphates all over them, a minuscule amount can easily be called a 'trace of novichok'.

    I am skeptical of all common narratives: GRU assassination, false flag, or even Russian criminals. The observed behavior doesn't fit any of them. 2 guys don't look (or behave) like assassins, or tourists. I think the key is in what Skripal was doing and in Julia flying in the night before. It is about what they did and planned. Other parties were bystanders. By the way, both UK intelligence and Russia know roughly what happened, but not the full story. They are goading each other, this is not over.

    Skripal is clearly a complicated and hard to manage piece of work. If he had stayed in Russian prison, he would be out by now (he had very short sentence), instead of being stuck in Salisbury feeding birds and raising guinea pigs (really, a grown up with a guinea pig as a pet?). That was probably driving him crazy. Julia comes across as an exasperated daughter, loving and cautious, with a touch of unpredictable opportunism. They are not fully on the same side in this. But nobody sprays doorknobs with a nerve agent - that's not the way it happened, this is not spy vandalism.
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  204. Beckow says:
    @reiner Tor

    I know that in any court, the prosecutor’s case will fall apart for having presented only circumstantial evidence and this should mean something.
     
    The novichok in the hotel room would not be exactly circumstantial. If the two Russian men were in British custody, there'd be matching DNA or lack thereof, which might decide the case either way.

    To be honest, I think a Hungarian court would already find them guilty based on the prosecution's story and the evidence corroborating it (including the novichok in the hotel room and the circumstances of their visit), but in Hungary the prosecution often manages to get the court convict a ham sandwich, so it means very little.

    Anyway, we're not a court, nor a jury. Nor have we been presented with all the evidence from either side - obviously they both have something up their sleeves.

    If they go to court, UK will present secret evidence from their ‘sources‘ and that would be it. We wouldn’t know much more than we know now. (Secret tribunals are a b..tch.)

    As evidence, proving novichok in their hotel room would be sufficient. But UK’s story is very evasive, a test that couldn’t be repeated, hotel rooms due to cleaning have organo-phosphates all over them, a minuscule amount can easily be called a ‘trace of novichok’.

    I am skeptical of all common narratives: GRU assassination, false flag, or even Russian criminals. The observed behavior doesn’t fit any of them. 2 guys don’t look (or behave) like assassins, or tourists. I think the key is in what Skripal was doing and in Julia flying in the night before. It is about what they did and planned. Other parties were bystanders. By the way, both UK intelligence and Russia know roughly what happened, but not the full story. They are goading each other, this is not over.

    Skripal is clearly a complicated and hard to manage piece of work. If he had stayed in Russian prison, he would be out by now (he had very short sentence), instead of being stuck in Salisbury feeding birds and raising guinea pigs (really, a grown up with a guinea pig as a pet?). That was probably driving him crazy. Julia comes across as an exasperated daughter, loving and cautious, with a touch of unpredictable opportunism. They are not fully on the same side in this. But nobody sprays doorknobs with a nerve agent – that’s not the way it happened, this is not spy vandalism.

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  205. LondonBob says:

    If extradition was sought then they would have to provide the evidence, they won’t because they have none.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Extradition won't be sought because they know exactly that Russia won't extradite them.
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  206. Beckow says:
    @notanon
    ex spy
    "hey guys i want to visit my sick mom in Russia can i come back to visit?"
    gru
    "no, f**k off"
    ex-spy
    "i have cultivated an agent inside porton down - i will trade him to you if i can visit my mom"
    gru
    "prove it f**kface"
    ex-spy
    "send some dudes for a face to face"
    gru
    "bah, okay but you better not be lying"
    MI5 wing of the neocon international
    "gotcha"

    2 issues:

    - I cannot imagine GRU (or any grown-up) falling for that, way too risky
    - nobody would send those two dudes for a ‘face-to-face’, they can handle packages, maybe money, but not anything to do with actual humans

    Read More
    • Replies: @notanon

    I cannot imagine GRU (or any grown-up) falling for that, way too risky
     
    i agree it's very hard to believe - for someone to risk it the bait offered would have had to be huge - although on the other hand that would make the idea of it being a deliberate anti-putin move more plausible

    nobody would send those two dudes for a ‘face-to-face’, they can handle packages, maybe money, but not anything to do with actual humans
     
    yes, if not assassins hard to believe they could be any more than couriers.

    #

    my take is based on

    1) i don't believe the assassination story for a second

    and yet

    2) the Russian response is sketchy

    ergo they were doing something politically even more damaging than an assassination attempt.
    , @reiner Tor
    Even if GRU sent in someone, probably the same rules would apply as do regarding sending in assassins: you don't want your people to be identifiable (like sending from Moscow instead of a third country; probably even using fake third country passports instead of Russian passports; using vehicles like cars or perhaps motorbikes instead of public transportation; creating a good elaborate legend instead of a stupid improbable back story; etc.), or...

    ...or maybe they could just have sent an attache openly under his own name, in a way which would make it difficult to frame him with anything. (Are attaches constantly under the risk of being framed for something? I don't think so. They openly walk around, and so they can probably provide alibis or reasons what they did and why and where. Or if they go on some more or less clandestine missions, those are probably well prepared, too.)

    Sending two extra suspicious looking idiots on a direct flight from Moscow is something you certainly wouldn't want to do.
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  207. @LondonBob
    If extradition was sought then they would have to provide the evidence, they won't because they have none.

    Extradition won’t be sought because they know exactly that Russia won’t extradite them.

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  208. notanon says:
    @Beckow
    2 issues:

    - I cannot imagine GRU (or any grown-up) falling for that, way too risky
    - nobody would send those two dudes for a 'face-to-face', they can handle packages, maybe money, but not anything to do with actual humans

    I cannot imagine GRU (or any grown-up) falling for that, way too risky

    i agree it’s very hard to believe – for someone to risk it the bait offered would have had to be huge – although on the other hand that would make the idea of it being a deliberate anti-putin move more plausible

    nobody would send those two dudes for a ‘face-to-face’, they can handle packages, maybe money, but not anything to do with actual humans

    yes, if not assassins hard to believe they could be any more than couriers.

    #

    my take is based on

    1) i don’t believe the assassination story for a second

    and yet

    2) the Russian response is sketchy

    ergo they were doing something politically even more damaging than an assassination attempt.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    they were doing something politically even more damaging than an assassination attempt
     
    I wrote elsewhere that based on what we have now the assassination attempt might be the charitable interpretation of what they did. But it's too amateurish for anything.
    , @Beckow
    Russian response is traditionally clumsy and sketchy, they are just that way. They are very controlling, but not at all proactive. They don't do sleek. The two hipster dufuses they produced are what they say they are - with something crucial left out.

    If you step back, there was literally no point in any of this - for Russia or UK. It has not been a smashing success for anyone. It is an annoyance, it has constrained everyone's hands without any visible benefits. That suggests that no rational institution was behind it, it was some bizarre individual initiative, possibly by Skripal. He is alive, UK should produce him so he can answer some questions. The fact that they don't says a lot.

    As a mystery detective story it is a real classic: family drama, exotic choice of tools, spies, weird strangers passing by, snowy weather, cathedral. Based on the detective story template, we will get more victims, police is inept, everyone is lying about something, and at the end Julia marries Petrov. But first, this might trigger a nice little war (WWIII?)...
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  209. @Beckow
    2 issues:

    - I cannot imagine GRU (or any grown-up) falling for that, way too risky
    - nobody would send those two dudes for a 'face-to-face', they can handle packages, maybe money, but not anything to do with actual humans

    Even if GRU sent in someone, probably the same rules would apply as do regarding sending in assassins: you don’t want your people to be identifiable (like sending from Moscow instead of a third country; probably even using fake third country passports instead of Russian passports; using vehicles like cars or perhaps motorbikes instead of public transportation; creating a good elaborate legend instead of a stupid improbable back story; etc.), or…

    …or maybe they could just have sent an attache openly under his own name, in a way which would make it difficult to frame him with anything. (Are attaches constantly under the risk of being framed for something? I don’t think so. They openly walk around, and so they can probably provide alibis or reasons what they did and why and where. Or if they go on some more or less clandestine missions, those are probably well prepared, too.)

    Sending two extra suspicious looking idiots on a direct flight from Moscow is something you certainly wouldn’t want to do.

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  210. @notanon

    I cannot imagine GRU (or any grown-up) falling for that, way too risky
     
    i agree it's very hard to believe - for someone to risk it the bait offered would have had to be huge - although on the other hand that would make the idea of it being a deliberate anti-putin move more plausible

    nobody would send those two dudes for a ‘face-to-face’, they can handle packages, maybe money, but not anything to do with actual humans
     
    yes, if not assassins hard to believe they could be any more than couriers.

    #

    my take is based on

    1) i don't believe the assassination story for a second

    and yet

    2) the Russian response is sketchy

    ergo they were doing something politically even more damaging than an assassination attempt.

    they were doing something politically even more damaging than an assassination attempt

    I wrote elsewhere that based on what we have now the assassination attempt might be the charitable interpretation of what they did. But it’s too amateurish for anything.

    Read More
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  211. inertial says:

    Anti-Karlin at CNN:

    Russia is better at propaganda than we are.

    At first glance, RT’s interview with the two men accused of poisoning former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, his daughter and two other British citizens almost looks like a joke [...]

    But at a second glance it’s a devious plot.

    On another note, this is a great illustration that Russia’s bad luck is that they are white. 99% of the case against these men is that they are sketchy looking. But imagine they were black or “Asian” (in the Brit sense of the word.) They could look and behave as suspiciously as heck, no one would dare to point it out. Police will make sure to look the other way.

    The moral is, if you want to do wetwork in UK use blacks or Middle Easterners. They have a cloak of invisibility.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Beckow

    ...Russia’s bad luck is that they are white. 99% of the case against these men is that they are sketchy looking.
     
    Hollywood has defined sketchy in Western culture to look like these two guys. We are conditioned to distrust them. If two Nigerians gave us the same story, mass media would be ecstatic: culture loving, persistent, polite, working with a small budget, just lovely. Or if they were women. But two Russian provincials are hierarchically at the bottom of the barrel. If they are by some miracle completely innocent of anything but smuggling some steroids, one almost feels sorry for them. Their 'cover' has been blown.
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  212. Beckow says:
    @notanon

    I cannot imagine GRU (or any grown-up) falling for that, way too risky
     
    i agree it's very hard to believe - for someone to risk it the bait offered would have had to be huge - although on the other hand that would make the idea of it being a deliberate anti-putin move more plausible

    nobody would send those two dudes for a ‘face-to-face’, they can handle packages, maybe money, but not anything to do with actual humans
     
    yes, if not assassins hard to believe they could be any more than couriers.

    #

    my take is based on

    1) i don't believe the assassination story for a second

    and yet

    2) the Russian response is sketchy

    ergo they were doing something politically even more damaging than an assassination attempt.

    Russian response is traditionally clumsy and sketchy, they are just that way. They are very controlling, but not at all proactive. They don’t do sleek. The two hipster dufuses they produced are what they say they are – with something crucial left out.

    If you step back, there was literally no point in any of this – for Russia or UK. It has not been a smashing success for anyone. It is an annoyance, it has constrained everyone’s hands without any visible benefits. That suggests that no rational institution was behind it, it was some bizarre individual initiative, possibly by Skripal. He is alive, UK should produce him so he can answer some questions. The fact that they don’t says a lot.

    As a mystery detective story it is a real classic: family drama, exotic choice of tools, spies, weird strangers passing by, snowy weather, cathedral. Based on the detective story template, we will get more victims, police is inept, everyone is lying about something, and at the end Julia marries Petrov. But first, this might trigger a nice little war (WWIII?)…

    Read More
    • Replies: @notanon

    there was literally no point in any of this – for Russia or UK
     
    maybe - if there was a reason the obvious one would be priming people for another gas attack in Syria being blamed on Russia directly - maybe even using novichok
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  213. Beckow says:
    @inertial
    Anti-Karlin at CNN:

    Russia is better at propaganda than we are.

    At first glance, RT's interview with the two men accused of poisoning former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, his daughter and two other British citizens almost looks like a joke [...]
     
    But at a second glance it's a devious plot.

    On another note, this is a great illustration that Russia's bad luck is that they are white. 99% of the case against these men is that they are sketchy looking. But imagine they were black or "Asian" (in the Brit sense of the word.) They could look and behave as suspiciously as heck, no one would dare to point it out. Police will make sure to look the other way.

    The moral is, if you want to do wetwork in UK use blacks or Middle Easterners. They have a cloak of invisibility.

    …Russia’s bad luck is that they are white. 99% of the case against these men is that they are sketchy looking.

    Hollywood has defined sketchy in Western culture to look like these two guys. We are conditioned to distrust them. If two Nigerians gave us the same story, mass media would be ecstatic: culture loving, persistent, polite, working with a small budget, just lovely. Or if they were women. But two Russian provincials are hierarchically at the bottom of the barrel. If they are by some miracle completely innocent of anything but smuggling some steroids, one almost feels sorry for them. Their ‘cover’ has been blown.

    Read More
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  214. notanon says:
    @Beckow
    Russian response is traditionally clumsy and sketchy, they are just that way. They are very controlling, but not at all proactive. They don't do sleek. The two hipster dufuses they produced are what they say they are - with something crucial left out.

    If you step back, there was literally no point in any of this - for Russia or UK. It has not been a smashing success for anyone. It is an annoyance, it has constrained everyone's hands without any visible benefits. That suggests that no rational institution was behind it, it was some bizarre individual initiative, possibly by Skripal. He is alive, UK should produce him so he can answer some questions. The fact that they don't says a lot.

    As a mystery detective story it is a real classic: family drama, exotic choice of tools, spies, weird strangers passing by, snowy weather, cathedral. Based on the detective story template, we will get more victims, police is inept, everyone is lying about something, and at the end Julia marries Petrov. But first, this might trigger a nice little war (WWIII?)...

    there was literally no point in any of this – for Russia or UK

    maybe – if there was a reason the obvious one would be priming people for another gas attack in Syria being blamed on Russia directly – maybe even using novichok

    Read More
    • Replies: @Beckow

    ...priming people for another gas attack in Syria being blamed on Russia directly
     
    They can do it anyway. The media campaigns don't need coherent reasons, what Western governments say goes.

    To bomb Syria through a Salisbury bench would be like eating with a left hand behind one's back and with closed eyes. Why bother with the complexity?
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  215. Mitleser says:

    Consequently, I would guess that further serious EU sanctions are now likelier than not.

    But not guaranteed.

    BRUSSELS, September 18. /TASS/. Heads of state and government of the 28 EU states will not adopt new sanctions against Russia over Russia’s alleged involvement in poisoning of the former Russian military intelligence officer Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, a source in the EU Council told TASS.

    “Introduction of new restrictions at the summit is not expected. At the moment no additional sanctions against Russia are planned,” the source said.

    Earlier on Tuesday, President of the European Council Donald Tusk said in a letter to the participants of the informal summit, which will be held on September 20 in Salzburg, that the EU leaders would discuss the situation around the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter. According to him, British Prime Theresa May will report on the case.

    http://tass.com/world/1022035

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  216. Beckow says:
    @notanon

    there was literally no point in any of this – for Russia or UK
     
    maybe - if there was a reason the obvious one would be priming people for another gas attack in Syria being blamed on Russia directly - maybe even using novichok

    …priming people for another gas attack in Syria being blamed on Russia directly

    They can do it anyway. The media campaigns don’t need coherent reasons, what Western governments say goes.

    To bomb Syria through a Salisbury bench would be like eating with a left hand behind one’s back and with closed eyes. Why bother with the complexity?

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    Why bother...
     
    there is less than zero public support for war in Syria
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  217. notanon says:
    @Beckow

    ...priming people for another gas attack in Syria being blamed on Russia directly
     
    They can do it anyway. The media campaigns don't need coherent reasons, what Western governments say goes.

    To bomb Syria through a Salisbury bench would be like eating with a left hand behind one's back and with closed eyes. Why bother with the complexity?

    Why bother…

    there is less than zero public support for war in Syria

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  218. Ludwitt says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    Possibly.

    But thanks to the Galactic Brains at RT, we now even have otherwise extremely "Russophile" people such as reiner Tor seriously reassessing who was behind the Syrian chemical weapons attacks.

    It seems to me that there is at least one explanation that can fit the various disparate inconsistencies in narratives on all sides.

    To begin with, whoever was responsible for this conspiracy – the GRU or MI6 [assuming that 99.9% it’s one of these two or equivalent] – it is 99.9% certain that Russia and the UK know who did it. So whatever is being played in public is some sort of deliberate game.

    Keep in mind that the crime was committed just a day after Yulia Skripal landed in UK. Petrov/Boshirov (here on referred to as PB), landed on Friday. Yulia on Saturday. The crime was committed Sunday. So one question is why that weekend of all weekends when Yulia was visiting. It can’t be a coincidence. Unless Yulia too was a target. Which then begs the question why the GRU – if it was the GRU who poisoned the Skripals – wanted to get rid of her in the UK when they could do it far more efficiently in Russia.

    A second curious fact is that the Skripals turned off their mobiles in exiting the house on Sunday (as resorted by British media).

    Thirdly is when PB visited Salisbury: at 11:48 am AFTER the last known/reported exit of the Skripals at 9:15 am.

    Fourth is the fact that for reasons that are unclear Yulia Skripal has been cut-off from the public with only a highly stilted “interview” which makes the PB interview look majestic.

    One explanation is this: Sergei Skripal – who even without a pardon in 2010 and exchanged for Russian spies, would have been a free man in Russia in 2018 having served out his 13 years from 2004 – wanted to come home (to be with his aging mother?). Yulia Skripal was to help him do that. PB *were* GRU agents but not assassins but two guys to assist with this effort and were to rendezvous with the Skripals to discuss in some public place.

    MI6 got wind of the whole deal. It is highly plausible that they were tracking PB to begin with. They decided to kill a lot of birds with one stone: get rid of the Skripals, frame Russia. Getting hold of the poison is no problem – it is almost certain that Russia as well as NATO countries have this poison.

    Keep in mind that for the GRU to mount an assassination on foreign soil – especially before Russia’s elections – was incredibly risky for very little reward (killing Skripal as a warning to future defectors?). They would confirm the existence of nerve agents in Russia, the risk of being caught with multiple CCTV’s before they left and so on is high.

    Conversely MI6 are on their own soil. They have virtually complete control over the environment. They can easily plant things, ask certain info be sealed, prevent Yulia Skripal from talking, erase any CCTV info that is inconvenient and so on.

    If this theory is correct, Russia knows exactly what has happened. They can if needed expose Yulia’s part – but that’s further endangering her and it’s unclear as to what MI6 is doing with her.

    With the UK police – who almost certainly are not involved but picking up whatever clues have been left behind – publicly outing PB, Russia decided to call the bluff and put PB out there with RT. (I found Simonyan’s interview quite fair: she was skeptical and sarcastic even, and if anything bolstered RT’s claim that they would treat anyone with the same degree of questioning)

    This saga is far from over of course. The UK police still have a lot of loose ends in their own narrative. The public still needs to hear from the Skripals.

    To see how it unfolds.

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