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article imageOp-Ed: Serious questions remain about Russian guilt in Skripal attack

By Ken Hanly     Mar 31, 2018 in World
British PM Theresa May insists that there are no other plausible explanations of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal than that Russia was guilty of the crime. However, the evidence has never proved this.
There are quite compelling reasons why the present narrative accepted not only by the UK but by the US and many western countries is not even plausible. Many questions remain about the official narrative such as it is.
Some of the most obvious reasons for thinking that the Russians did not do this are typically not even raised in most mainstream reports. I shall treat two of these.
Why would Russia use a poison that could be traced to them?
The official narrative is that the poison used was a "Novichok" of a type that was developed only in Russia during the Soviet era. If this is correct, why would Russia use this nerve agent when it could obviously be traced back to them and used as a means of establishing their guilt as has been done? The Russians apparently are not only evil they are incredibly stupid. They could have easily used some other general poison or other methods of killing them that could not be traced back to Russia. Instead they chose a method that was sure to lead investigators to suspect it was done by them.
No one even seems to bring up the issue of the daughter being poisoned as well as Sergei. She was just visiting her father apparently. Did she have anything to do with her father's activity? Why was she poisoned too?
Yulia is now conscious and is talking. Yet there is no report of anyone questioning her about what happened or of anything she may have said about the incident. Why is this? Her testimony is surely crucial. One would think that investigators would have talked to her immediately upon her being able to talk.
Rules for swapping prisoners
Sergei was released from a Russian jail in a spy exchange some time ago. A crucial understanding making such swaps possible is that neither side will take any actions against those swapped after the exchange. Why would Russia violate this rule and make it more difficult if not impossible to arrange future swaps? Again the mainstream press usually does not even bring this issue up.
Is it really plausible that Russia would use a chemical agent that could show their probable involvement in the poisoning when they could have used means that would not do so. Is it plausible that the Russians would carry out an assassination that would lead them to be unable to arrange future spy swaps? According to May and many others this must be so.
Unanswered problematic questions
There are numerous questions that demand answers. While most mainstream media have simply left the whole issue of proving Russian guilt and gone on to other issues such as the tit-for-tat expulsion of diplomats, zerohedge does just recently list thirty different questions which it claims demand answers. Some of them are actually already answered such as the condition of Sergei and Julia but others remain problematic.
Where did the couple contact the agent?
There have been many different stories about where the two came into contact with the nerve agent. Traces of the agent were said to be found in a restaurant and a pub and the vents of a vehicle but the official story now is that it was from the front door of their home.
According to some claims the Novichok-type agent used is between five and eight times more toxic that VX nerve agent. Any sort of significant dose would have killed or incapacitated them almost immediately. However, the two managed somehow to get from their front door to a park bench presumably some distance away.
What proof is there that the agent was from Russia?
Actually there isn't any except that it is of a type that was believed to have been made in Soviet times in Russia but in what is now Uzbekistan. The Novichok is a type of nerve agent not a specific formula. There is some debate about whether there actually is such a special type.
The scientists at Porton Down apparently did not agree to put out a statement such as the government wanted which would put the place of origin of the substance in Russia because they could not establish this. Instead the more general phrase was agreed to that the substance was " a military grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia". This claim was made by Craig Murray.
The government issued a rebuttal of this claim saying the following: “We have no idea what Mr Murray is referring to. The Prime Minister told MP’s on Monday that world leading experts at Porton Down had positively identified this chemical agent. It is clear that it is a military grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia. None of that is in any doubt”.
This is not a rebuttal but a further evidence of precisely what is claimed by Murray. The rebuttal repeats the phrase "military grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia" it does not state that the agent was manufactured in Russia which is what Murray had claimed. Of course you will not find this discussed in the mainstream press. It is rare that a rebuttal proves what it was meant to rebut.
Russia was given a 36 hour ultimatum to explain the incident but was not provided with the evidence that purportedly shows its guilt. It refused to send Russia a sample of the chemical agent. Given that the UK, the US and other powerful nations have decided that Russia is guilty and acted to punish Russia it is highly unlikely that there can be an impartial investigation. The investigation is already off the radar of the mainstream press.
Further reading
I have discussed just a very small sample of some of the issues surrounding the case for Russia being guilty of the poisoning. It is hardly surprising that there are many different alternative theories as to who is behind the poisoning. Some commentators think that it is a false flag event intended to create even more reaction against Russia. It certainly has done this whoever did it. There are numerous variants of conspiracy theories. While none of them are proved, it is not clear they are any more implausible than the official Russian guilt narrative.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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