Tuesday, March 13, 2018

False Flags for Newbies

Britain is in a media frenzy over the recent poisoning of the former Russian intelligence service colonel turned British spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England. British PM Theresa May demanded that Russia explain itself, claiming that they were poisoned using a nerve agent called “Novichok” (Russian for “Newbie”) that was a product of Soviet biological weapons research. It is no longer produced and the destruction of its stockpiles has been verified by international observers. However, its formula is in the public domain and it can be synthesized by any properly equipped chemical lab, such as Britain's own Porton Down, which, incidentally, is just an 18-minute drive from Salisbury.

May provided no evidence to back up her claims of Russian complicity in the attempted murder. Russia's Foreign Ministry has requested that Britain turn over all available evidence to back up its accusation of chemical weapons use (under the terms of the Chemical Weapons Convention Britain must do so within 10 days) but Britain has refused. Therefore, Russia's FM Sergei Lavrov has announced that Russia will not be responding to such baseless allegations.

An important key to spotting a false flag is that the “knowledge” of who is to blame becomes available before any evidence is in. For example, in the case of the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines MH-17 over Eastern Ukraine, everyone in the West was convinced that “pro-Russian separatists” were to blame even before the means could be established. To this date, it isn’t understood how they could have done it given the equipment they had at their disposal. In this case, Russia was accused almost immediately, while British FM Boris Johnson was quick to volunteer that Britain should not send its team to the World Cup in Russia this summer, disclosing the real reason behind the assassination attempt.

Is there anything new and different behind this latest provocation? Not really; it seems like a replay of the Litvinenko assassination back in November 2006. The choice of an exotic poison (Polonium 210), the lack of evidence (the British claimed that compelling circumstantial evidence exists but haven’t provided any), and the instantaneous leap to “blame Russia” are all the same. The Russians offered to prosecute whoever is responsible if only the British would provide them with the evidence, but the British have failed to do so.

Giving the British story the benefit of the doubt, let’s see what would compel Russia’s secret services to go after Skripal. In Russia, he was convicted and sentenced for treason, then pardoned and released to the British in a prisoner exchange that included ten Russian spies who had worked in the US, including the rather memorable Anna Chapman. It is a very important rule of the spy business that those released in a spy swap are never acted against; if this rule were violated, the resulting bad faith would make spy swaps impossible to negotiate. Thus, if the Russian authorities were to order the hit on Skripal, this would not just be immoral and illegal. That would be neither here nor there, since there are instances where raison d’├ętat obviates the need for such scruples. Worse than that, such behavior would have been unprofessional.

Then there is the question of timing. Russia’s presidential elections will take place in just a few days, on March 18. This is a particularly inopportune time to cause an international scandal. What possible urgency could there have been behind killing a pardoned former spy who no longer possessed any up-to-date intelligence, was living quietly in retirement, and at that moment was busy having lunch with his daughter? If the Russian government were involved in the poisoning, what possible reason could have been given for not waiting until after the election?

The attack on Skripal is by no means an isolated incident; there have been multiple suspicious murders of high-profile Russians within the UK for which no adequate explanation has been given. There is a consistent pattern: a strange murder; an instantaneous leap to “blame Russia”; and an attempt to exploit the incident politically. It would be beneficial to put this incident in context, but that would require a much longer article.

You would be justified in thinking that none of this makes much sense. Given the dearth of evidence, to make sense of this story we are forced to indulge in a bit of conspiracy theory. However, if a conspiracy theory is what it takes to produce the simplest, most elegant and most internally consistent explanation, then that in itself can be considered as circumstantial evidence for the existence of a conspiracy. My simple and consistent explanation, expressed in a single sentence, is as follows:

Under direction from their colleagues in the US, and closely following a script previously worked out in the Litvinenko case over a decade ago, the British secret services, in close coordination with the British government and the press, poisoned Skripal and his daughter using a nerve agent obtained from Britain’s military research base at Porton Down in order to obtain an excuse to compromise the World Cup games in Russia this summer and also to create a scandal immediately before the Russian presidential election.

This is deplorable, of course, but there is a silver lining to this cloud as far as Russia is concerned: Britain (and, by association, the US) will now have a much harder time recruiting double agents from inside the Russian government, since their recruitment prospects will now know that they will remain vulnerable even if they escape, or are pardoned and exchanged. Clearly, the British consider them disposable and see it fit to kill them in exotic ways, then to exploit the incident for political purposes.

As far as Skripal himself… well, that’s just a really sad story: reputation ruined, life ruined, living in exile, wife dead from cancer, son dead from liver failure, and now this. All for the sake of serving as a warning unto others, which is: Don’t trust the Anglos, for they are devious and without shame.


Phil Espin said...

As a British citizen I am appalled at the British government allocating blame to Russia without sufficient evidence to sustain a charge. They are making themselves even more of a laughing stock. Dmitry you are at risk of falling into the same trap though I assume you are doing it to point out the absurdity of May’s “ultimatum”. There are a number of possible theories for who might be responsible, let’s wait and see if any worthwhile evidence emerges from the ongoing farce that May has allowed to develop.

G Hales said...

..Ah yes but was it us? The "globalised terror network" that has been fabricating attacks is not wedded to a single nation state, it knows sovereignty but its own..Surely they have assets in every western administration (some more than others), but the rest are posturing "sheeples" happy to have the fires of outrage stoked as long as such allows them to continue to practice transference onto the "other" and remain in feather-bedded denial..?

David said...

I have seen several people claim that Skripal was involved with the infamous Trump dossier for the Clintons. So many people who could embarrass the Clintons end up dead so I think that would be a more productive line of inquiry than the "Russians did it" nonsense the MSM and government liars in the Anglosphere spew all the time.

Besides, he was a double agent. A traitor to his country and an untrustworthy person to the rest of the world. Who cares what happened to him?

Olga Finikova said...

Agree with Phil, there are plenty of plausible theories. To name a few with a motive: there is Ukraine; or any of a variety of actors pissed at Russia/Putin about Syria; or any number of "rogue" Russian actors wishing to inflict damage on Putin before the election.

Yossi said...

If Britain/US will now have a much harder time recruiting double agents from inside the Russian government surely this would be a motive for Russia to have had them poisoned?

Tamara4U said...

Hard to get a bead on the nature of true evil but it sure seems to ooze heavily from the central banking network and, specifically, the City of London part. Thanks to the internet a small contingent of folks are waking up to realize the current ruling elite of the western world just can't be trusted.... in the least. No honor, no ethics, no morals and a seemingly bottomless lust for power and control. My wife and I live outside the USSA impact zone now but former life in the USA, for me, was much like being raised in a pleasant, privileged bubble only to realize all your trappings of luxury and indolence are paid for by a ruthless mafia father.

It would be nice to get to the bottom of why the western world has such a bug up their butts about Russia. And seemingly have a long time. Jealous of their bountiful gene pool? Resentful of engineering prowess? Russians never played along with the ruling global families? Putin appropriated all the Rothschilds Russian central banking money? (rumored) Uncontrollable willful SOB rebels!?!?! (my kinda folks....)

Fascinating to watch and fathom but, in the end, sad to see. Yet another reason to sail off to the fabled islands of Pago Pago, find a particularly remote and idyllic little village, and just turn off the web access one last time.

Roger said...

The Que Bono rule should always be applied in cases like this. Who benefits here is the Neoconservative faction within Western governments who ultimately wish to confront and degrade Russian power, or so they hope. I have to ask myself if Russia or any elements within its government would embark on such a jolly jape like this on foreign territory. As one commentator has already said, he was a 'Busted Flush' and was debriefed by both Russian and UK secret services. If the Russians had wanted Skripal dead they had ample time to arrange it while he was still in Russia and even in the years after he was released. Why now? Why such a clumsy modus operandi which leaves the 'target' critically ill but not dead and as a bonus leaves a forensic trail back to Russia? How very convenient. Theresa May is a pathetic character, going from one blunder to the next. She hoped to be the reincarnation of Margaret Thatcher and apart from her retinue of True Believers, don’t think the world is impressed by her call to arms yesterday in Parliament.

peakfuture said...

tamara4U - "was much like being raised in a pleasant, privileged bubble only to realize all your trappings of luxury and indolence are paid for by a ruthless mafia father."

Nail on the head, there. When people around me extol the virtues of their gleaming worlds, it is rude to ask where all that stuff came from. A classic SF tale that comes to mind is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ones_Who_Walk_Away_from_Omelas . Except there's a lot more than one person who is suffering.

Jayhawk said...

"It would be nice to get to the bottom of why the western world has such a bug up their butts about Russia."

Because they are an aggressive power who are invading and occupying one sovreign nation after another, threatening to use nuclear weapons against the nations they are not invading, and are killing people in at least ten nations using Hellfire missiles fired from drones. Oh, wait. That's not Russia, is it.

MoonShadow said...

I'm starting to wonder if someone(s) in position(s) of power are desperately searching for another Archduke Ferdinand.

sjoh said...

Hahaha, thanks for the chuckle at the end.

mr. no said...

Fresh from The Guardian:
"...Moscow’s covert operation to support Trump during the 2016 US election was a large enterprise. It involved career intelligence officers, cyber-criminals and professional trolls. Only Putin and a few top officials know its full scope. But a wider group of individuals understand parts.

Anyone thinking of cooperating with Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating collusion, will think twice [ed:after Skripal poisoning]. "

Of course it makes sense! at least if you admit the first sentence


If forced to believe in a conspiracy, did anyone point out tha May was trying to make Russia "prove a negative"? That's a classic.

DeVaul said...

@ Phil, et al,

I think the point Dmitry is hinting at, or has already made, is that there will be no “worthwhile evidence” emerging from this murder, in the same way no “worthwhile evidence” emerged from any of the previous false flag events. Only a pattern emerges — nothing more. The actual evidence of what happened will be deep-sized for as long as humanly possible.

Bryan Hemming said...

Just a note to point out that, as Britain doesn't have a football team as such, withdrawing such a team would be impossible. This may seem trivial but it isn't. The UK has four international teams, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England. England was the only one to have qualify for the 2018 World Cup. There are two problems here, the main being that it is not within the authority of the UK government to dictate what the England team do, or do not do. There may be quite a few players, and fans, that do not agree with British government policies towards Russia, and would resent government interference.

Added to that, the British elite regarded football as a working man's sport up until relatively recently. Cricket and rugby were considered more civilised - though, having played rugby at school I can't say I'm in accordance - and it was only in the 1980s that "footie" suddenly became as fashionable among toffs as talking Mockney - an affected Cockney accent.

Theresa May and Boris Johnson messing about with football will not go down well with a lot of Brits at all, including all the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish, who want England to scrape through the the the quarter finals to be ritually humiliated by an old enemy, such as Germany or Argentina, in a grudge match.

postpeakmedicine said...

Like Phil Espin, I'm a British citizen watching with increasing dismay the antics of the British Government over this. Listening to my car radio this lunchtime, I heard Jeremy Corbyn (UK Leader of the Opposition) asking Theresa May (UK Prime Minister) whether she had complied with the Russians' request to hand over a sample of the toxic substance for analysis. He was met with braying laughter and catcalls from the House of Commons and silence from Theresa May. But this is a reasonable request and is really basic stuff, all about someone being entitled to know the case against them, disclosure of evidence, the right to plead their defence, you know, all that good democratic stuff? Instead it seems to be turning into a witch hunt.

Phil Espin said...

DeVaul, if no evidence emerges at all that would be extremely suspicious in itself. If they cannot come up with an assassin they are nowhere. Any moral high ground May thought she had, will have vanished for all fair minded people when Lavrov pointed out that Britain had failed to follow the proper process under the Chemical Weapons Convention of supplying evidence including samples. Russia would then have 10 days to respond not 36 hours. From what i’ve read the nerve agent in question is not even banned under the convention. Interesting to see the BBC has switched this morning from calling it a Soviet agent rather than a Russian one. A welcome outbreak of honesty. Russia has international verification that it has destroyed all its chemical weapons. The same cannot be said for Britain, USA and Israel. Don’t know about Ukraine but they would be on my list of possible suspects.

Sparks McCoy said...

Clearly this was not Russia, but I highly doubt whoever did it represents real British people, they have their own agenda and it has nothing to do with the welfare of the average Brit. The west is infested with traitors and evil people, Russia on the other hand is looking more and more the moral authority in the world not just a military superpower.

Rhisiart Gwilym said...

Have to say, Sparks, that as a Brit disgusted at the braying antics in the Paedominster parliament over this obvious scam I agree with your last line fully. And watching the extended interviews that VVPutin has given to Western interlocutors just recently, I'd say that clearly he typifies Russia's evident, restrained, principled dignity. Lavrov too.

Unknown said...

What puzzles me is the White Helmets didn't come to the rescue.