Sergei Skripal 'Nerve Agent' Attack

Whitebeard

Senior Member.
Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia were found in a state of collapse in the English City of Salisbury on Sunday.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-43294478/salisbury-substance-incident-major-incident-declared-police?intlink_from_url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/c0j915myy8kt/russian-spy-poisoning&link_location=live-reporting-map
Sergei Skripal, who is 66 and a woman, 33, were found unconscious on a bench at a shopping centre in Salisbury on Sunday afternoon.

The BBC understands he is a Russian national convicted of spying for Britain.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Craig Holden ,Wiltshire police said: "Because we are still at the very early stages of the investigation, we are unable to ascertain whether or not a crime has taken place."
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Subsequent investigation has discovered the two victims, along with 21 other people had become subject to a nerve agent, possibly VX, the same chemical used in the assassination of Kim Jong-nam at Kuala Lumpa airport last year.

Investigations are still on going, with both military and civilian authorities involved, but given Skripal past, he had been convicted and imprisioned in Russia for spying for the UK (and released as part of a spy swap deal), and Russia track record in poisoning exiled spies and critics of the state, eg Alexander Litvinenko in 2006, the finger of suspicion is pointing at Moscow. Needless to say the Russians are denying involvement.

Latest (at time of posting) reports... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-43344725

About 180 military personnel have been deployed to Salisbury to help in the investigation into the attempted murder of an ex-Russian spy and his daughter.

They will include Royal Marines and military personnel who have specialist training in chemical warfare and decontamination, the BBC understands.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia collapsed on Sunday afternoon after being exposed to a nerve agent.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has described the attack as "outrageous".

The BBC's Daniel Sandford said the military personnel were "experts in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear warfare".

The Metropolitan Police said the counter-terrorism unit has requested the military's assistance "to remove a number of vehicles and objects from the scene", including ambulances that may have been contaminated while assisting the victims.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said the military had stepped up to "assist with this crucial inquiry".

The public should not be alarmed and there is no evidence to suggest a wide public health risk at this time, the police added.

Mr Skripal, an ex-Russian military security colonel, and his daughter remain in a critical condition at Salisbury District Hospital.

Det Sgt Nick Bailey - who attended the scene on Sunday - is conscious but "very anxious" about being exposed to a nerve agent.

Director of nursing Lorna Wilkinson said Mr Bailey was in a serious but stable condition.
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Needless to say the consirasphere is buzzing with false flag claims, eg...
http://tapnewswire.com/2018/03/the-sergei-skripal-poisoning-opens-up-a-massive-rabbit-hole/
However, the problem with this current incident is that it occurs just days after the UK Defense Minister announced that Britain’s security establishment was shifting its attention away from terrorism and onto Russia as the major threat to the UK. I in fact wrote about that here on Saturday, and about reported anxieties in Russia that some kind of false-flag was being prepped to blame on Russia.

And then, a few days later, this poisoning incident occurs – and immediately, government officials and news media run with an official narrative pinning the incident directly on Putin.
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I've not notice the Russian troll houses getting into gear on this one yet though, but we shall see what develops.
 

Hevach

Senior Member.
It's kind of a situation where they don't need to apologize. It falls into the "open secret" realm that even friendly embassies are crawling with spies, and this is the risk that foreign assets and double agents take - they're very nearly fair game to other spies, because even if MI6 were ready to go to bat for a foreign asset getting offed in a counterintelligence operation, anything public like diplomatic pressure or criminal charges would risk tipping the hand on their methods and potentially endangering other assets.

I mean... I'm trying really hard not to sound callous here, because death is always a tragedy, and it's really messed up that countries so routinely do things like this inside other countries, and even more messed up that they generally do so with impunity, but this is the game you sign up for when you become a spy, especially when you become an asset to a foreign agency. And double plus especially when Russia is involved. Everybody involved knew that, and Russia knows everybody involved knows that, so they get to do the supervillain laugh while their adversaries can do little except pick up the pieces.

Relevant example: The polonium poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko.
 
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Trailspotter

Senior Member.
The UK does. The BBC link in the OP says he is, "a Russian national convicted of spying for Britain."
Correct. Convicted by Russians, who keep calling him a British spy. I am not aware about any British acknowledgement of his working for them.
 
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Hevach

Senior Member.
In 2010, the US exchanged 10 Russian spies for Skripal and three others at an airport in Vienna. Articles from 2010 name Skripal as an MI6 informant and that he was expected to stay in Britian when the plane stopped before returning to the US.

That's about as confirmed as these things get without risking peoples' cover.

The Russian 10, deported from New York on Thursday, landed at Domodedovo airport south of Moscow to an uncertain future. The four westward-bound agents touched down at Brize Norton, in Oxfordshire. It is thought that at least one of them, Sergei Skripal, a former informant for MI6, will stay in Britain.
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Trailspotter

Senior Member.
In 2010, the US exchanged 10 Russian spies for Skripal and three others at an airport in Vienna. Articles from 2010 name Skripal as an MI6 informant and that he was expected to stay in Britian when the plane stopped before returning to the US.

That's about as confirmed as these things get without risking peoples' cover.
Thanks. This is more than I need and want to know about this person.
 

JFDee

Senior Member.
the US exchanged 10 Russian spies for Skripal and three others
A revenge execution after such a deal (and indiscriminately affecting innocent people) is not generally agreed upon to be a "part of the game".

I've not heard about Western nations' services being involved in revenge killings of exchanged spies in Russia. It would only make sense if it became very public, acting as a deterrent. Otherwise it'd be a waste of valuable resources.
 
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Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
A revenge execution after such a deal (and indiscriminately affecting innocent people) is not generally agreed upon to be a "part of the game".

I've not heard about Western nations' services being involved in revenge killings of exchanged spies in Russia. It would only make sense if it became very public, acting as a deterrent. Otherwise it'd be a waste of valuable resources.

Yes, everything I have read about this case suggests it goes against the "gentleman's agreements" that have previously characterised spycraft. If you exchange spies, you don't then go after them and try to kill them.
 

occams rusty scissor

Senior Member.
could well be, but you can't get nerve agents like VX in your local Tesco's,

Yup...They don't normally deploy military CBRN guys to this level for just a Hazmat response.

What I don't get is why use a toxin that could only be used by a government agent? Seems like an overly complex and risky way to do it, really. If it's just a case of wanting to bump him off, why not just make it look like he was randomly attacked?

Same could be said for Litvinenko though. Perhaps they want to leave a telling signature.
 

DavidB66

Senior Member
Yup...They don't normally deploy military CBRN guys to this level for just a Hazmat response.

What I don't get is why use a toxin that could only be used by a government agent? Seems like an overly complex and risky way to do it, really. If it's just a case of wanting to bump him off, why not just make it look like he was randomly attacked?

Same could be said for Litvinenko though. Perhaps they want to leave a telling signature.

Going back a bit further, there was the case of Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian dissident who was assassinated in London by a pellet containing ricin fired from an umbrella. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgi_Markov#Later_investigation_and_aftermath This might seem like a joke out of The Man From Uncle , but the result was deadly serious (sorry).
 

Whitebeard

Senior Member.
What I don't get is why use a toxin that could only be used by a government agent? Seems like an overly complex and risky way to do it, really. If it's just a case of wanting to bump him off, why not just make it look like he was randomly attacked?

Same could be said for Litvinenko though. Perhaps they want to leave a telling signature.
I reckon its a message sending thing, everyone knows to JFK someone with VX or Polonium, or Ricin filled pellets and a James Bond style brolly, the perps are gonna have to be state sponsered. They, in this case the Russian secret service, know the only real response the UK can give is diplomatic sanctions and expulsion of some embassy staff, which while politically incovenient in the short term, for both sides, will not be a biggie in the grand scheme of things. After all the UK, or NATO is not going to risk military hostilities over a dead or injured ex-spy, and the message is still sent that if you betray Mother Russia, they can and will get you at some point.

Of course the fact that around 20 civilians were caught up in the incident could have been very nasty.
 

JFDee

Senior Member.
My money's on a lone wolf attacker, as there is very little evidence so far of a conspiracy.
To me, the likeliest explanation is a glaring signal by the Russian government to their own citizens that no one will be ever safe after providing secret information to foreign powers.

There may be even the useful side effects of being able to test the real-world release of a new chemical weapon, or to stick it to the world that there may be more in store of that kind of stuff. It's probably also useful to observe what the civil and military emergency response is in the targeted country.

All in all a lot to gain for, and as @Whitebeard said, very few downsides to Russia. So the question is what a "lone wolf" had to gain in comparison.
 

Agent K

Senior Member
Wouldn't be the first time Russia poisoned someone in London. Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov was poisoned with ricin from a Bulgarian Umbrella in 1978. Well, technically Bulgaria assassinated him with Russia's assistance.
In June 1977, Bulgarian dictator Todor Zhivkov decided Markov had overstepped the line and decreed that all measures could be used to neutralize enemy émigrés. Bulgarian State Security (DS) snapped into action. Lacking the technical wherewithal, DS director Dimitar Stoyanov asked his Soviet brethren for assistance, but even the hardened KGB men were reluctant to become accessories to murder. The days when this kind of thing could go unpunished are gone, exclaimed KGB chairman Yuri Andropov. He eventually agreed to provide the DS with technical assistance only. The KGB residence in Washington, D. C. procured several umbrellas, and a top secret KGB poisons laboratory transformed them into deadly weapons that could eject tiny pellets of the extremely lethal toxin ricin from their tips.
https://www.spymuseum.org/education-programs/news-books-briefings/background-briefings/death-in-london/
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Since when were KGB men "reluctant to become accessories to murder"?
 

occams rusty scissor

Senior Member.
Apparently a toxin called "Novichok":


WHAT IS NOVICHOK?

According to CNN, the Soviet-era poison, also known as Newcomer, is designed to evade various chemical weapons treaties and provide a more stable, two-part agent that’s harder to detect.

Just one chemical — A320 — is up to eight times more deadly than VX, which killed Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last February.

The poison can only be produced by highly specialised scientists and is one of most deadly weapons around due to its high potency according to The Independent.

Professor Gary Stephens, a pharmacology expert at the University of Reading in the UK, said it was so dangerous because the weapon’s component parts are not on the banned list.
http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/re...l/news-story/f60f604aaae5c03e32043489dde297ab
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John85

Member
That's the million dollar question though - how far does the kind of chemical weapon used determine who used it? My above comment was a joke (sorry) because this does have conspiracy stamped all over it. But is there no scope for a lone wolf? Could a dedicated scientist not have produced this substance themselves, even with no link to Russia?
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
Further conspiracy theory fodder after The Times mistakenly said Skripal had died in its front-page headline (the image was only of a page proof and it was corrected before the paper went to presss).

Source: https://twitter.com/mrmalky/status/972989352719671296


http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/times...-stating-russian-spy-sergei-skripal-had-died/





The Times had to change an error on the paper’s front page last night after its headline claimed former Russian spy Sergei Skripal had died when he is in fact still in a critical condition in hospital.

The error was shared by the BBC’s Neil Henderson on Twitter who shares images of the papers’ front pages before they hit the newsstands the next day. It read: “May set to hit back at Russia over spy death”.
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Comparisons with Building 7 are inevitably being drawn.
 

Hevach

Senior Member.
That's the million dollar question though - how far does the kind of chemical weapon used determine who used it? My above comment was a joke (sorry) because this does have conspiracy stamped all over it. But is there no scope for a lone wolf? Could a dedicated scientist not have produced this substance themselves, even with no link to Russia?
The thing about the Novichok series of poisons is that they aren't known in detail. It's known there are many variants, they're mostly fluoridated organophosphates and there's been a few unconfirmed structures reported. Enough is known that we could recognize them chemically but the exact formulas and their manufacture is another matter. We don't even know for certain if they're as deadly as claimed, though we're getting a chance to study that right now.

The one caveat is that, because they're not well known, this hypothetical lone wolf (who would need expertise in a particular part of chemical engineering that's not widely available outside creating the deadliest chemical weapons in the world) could cook up a fluoridated organophosphate and investigators wouldn't know the difference. That's some dangerous stuff to work with in these quantities, and not a kind of chemical engineering you'd encounter in most jobs or university labs.
 
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Whitebeard

Senior Member.
That's the million dollar question though - how far does the kind of chemical weapon used determine who used it? My above comment was a joke (sorry) because this does have conspiracy stamped all over it. But is there no scope for a lone wolf? Could a dedicated scientist not have produced this substance themselves, even with no link to Russia?
These nerve agents are not something you can cook up in your kitchen, you need some very specialist labs and someone who knows exactly what they are doing, there is zero room for error. One slip and its the assassin thats dead, not the target.And the equipment to make,store and deploy these agents are not thing that are easy to obtain either, the idea of a mad scientist in his underground lab churning out weapons of mass destruction is the domain of certain Hollywood films of questionable quality,not something that is in the domain of reality.

Other toxins, such as ricin and sarin, are far easier to produce and handle (although still beyond yer average man in the lab) and just as effective. Or why go for a nerve agent in the first place? Why not go or good old Hydrogen Cyanide or the like? Or why poison at all, why not go for the snipers bullet, or the bomb or the staged car crash? All far easier methods of taking someone out than using a complex nerve agent.

Given the Russians track record of assassination, both in Russia and abroad, the method used, and the nature of the target all fingers of suspicion are pointing at Moscow on this one, probably as a message to other disidents not to make waves in the run up to Russias up coming 'elections', rather than any theoretical 'lonewolf' operative.
 
The assassination attempt was not done cleanly (many people were contaminated), which suggests amateurism. But if the nerve agent is very difficult to produce, this suggests that a government made the stuff.

So my hypothesis is that the Bad Guys were not under government direction, but they obtained the nerve agent from a government source by stealing it or by bribing/threatening someone who had access to it.
 

Agent K

Senior Member
That's the million dollar question though - how far does the kind of chemical weapon used determine who used it? My above comment was a joke (sorry) because this does have conspiracy stamped all over it. But is there no scope for a lone wolf? Could a dedicated scientist not have produced this substance themselves, even with no link to Russia?

"Only Moscow could conduct Salisbury attack, says Russian scientist (whistleblower) who warned world of nerve agent without cure"
Vil Mirzayanov, a chemist who worked at the heart of the Soviet programme, said Russia was the only country able to produce and deploy such a powerful nerve agent, and he warned that many more people may fall ill...
Dr Mirzayanov said even the existence of Novichok, let alone its formulae, had been a closely guarded secret, making it “unthinkable” that another country or terrorist group had been allowed access or help in its manufacture. “Only Russia could do this,” he said. “They would never give it away.”...
“I never, ever supposed they would use Novichok,” he said. Instead he assumed it was VX – like that used by North Koreans to kill the estranged half brother of Kim Jung-un in Malaysia.
“I supposed that there was no necessity to use it. It’s more brutal, more painful. But what could be so important that you have to use something this terrible? It was a deliberate demonstration by Vladimir Putin of his power against his enemies. This was a brazen and deliberate demonstration.”
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/20...duct-salisbury-attack-says-russian-scientist/
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Hevach

Senior Member.
The assassination attempt was not done cleanly (many people were contaminated), which suggests amateurism. But if the nerve agent is very difficult to produce, this suggests that a government made the stuff.

So my hypothesis is that the Bad Guys were not under government direction, but they obtained the nerve agent from a government source by stealing it or by bribing/threatening someone who had access to it.
Russia has a storied history of "state condoned lone wolf" attacks. The basic concept is, the Kremlin won't order somebody killed, but if somebody has made enemies in Moscow or among the oligarchs, and they die under your watch, then good things will happen. The flip side of this is that anyone who screws up is acting alone and off the books, and as such is turbo-screwed.

This does mean that there's a lot of craziness around Russian revenge killings. There have been amateurish attempts, one target found a pool of mercury under their driver's seat after experiencing a mild case of heavy metal poisoning, and one opposition leader in Moscow has survived two attempts of assassination by poison. On the other extreme you have needlessly elaborate mob hits and shameless police executions.
 
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Agent K

Senior Member
That's the million dollar question though - how far does the kind of chemical weapon used determine who used it? My above comment was a joke (sorry) because this does have conspiracy stamped all over it. But is there no scope for a lone wolf? Could a dedicated scientist not have produced this substance themselves, even with no link to Russia?

"When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses, not zebras." -Dr. Theodore Woodward

In other news, "Putin enemy found dead in London eight days after Skripal poisoning, as counter-terror police launch investigation"
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/20...man-close-associate-ofboris-berezovsky-found/
 

Whitebeard

Senior Member.
In other news, "Putin enemy found dead in London eight days after Skripal poisoning, as counter-terror police launch investigation"
And 14 other old cases of dead Russians or dead folks with Russian conections to be re-opened.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/u...e-involvement-putin-latest-news-a8253336.html
Police and MI5 are probing allegations of Russian state involvement in up to 14 deaths in the UK in the wake of the nerve agent attack on a former spy.

Amber Rudd stressed that investigations and coroner’s inquests at the time “did not discover evidence of foul play” but the circumstances will now be looked at again...

...They include the exiled oligarch Boris Berezovsky, whistle-blower Alexander Perepilichnyy, the “spy in the bag” Gareth Williams and a British scientist stabbed to death after being involved in the Alexander Litvinenko case.
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Critical Thinker

Senior Member.
From the WashintonPost: Britain to expel 23 Russian diplomats in nerve agent case and will block all high-level contacts with Moscow


Britain ordered the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats believed involved in espionage-related activities, British prime minister announced Wednesday, in the first wave of measures against Moscow for a deadly chemical attack against a former double agent.

Theresa May, speaking to Parliament, also outlined a range of other steps, including a halt to high-level meetings with Russian officials and calling off a planned visit to Britain by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

May repeated the conclusion of British investigators that Russia had either deployed or lost control of dangerous nerve agent used in the attack — targeting the former spy and his daughter — and called Russia’s defiant response has “demonstrated complete disdain for the gravity of these events.”

“Instead they have treated the use of a military grade nerve agent in Europe with sarcasm, contempt and defiance,” she told lawmakers while announcing the reprisal measures.
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MikeC

Closed Account
So my hypothesis is that the Bad Guys were not under government direction, but they obtained the nerve agent from a government source by stealing it or by bribing/threatening someone who had access to it.

Or being handed it as a form of "deniable" state support...

As to why nerve agent? i can think of a number of reasons.

1/ it is no immediately obvious what has happened - allowing the perpetrators to get away;

2/ there is no forensic evidence lying around - this particular nerve gent was designed to be not detected by NATO testing systems, and extremely lethal in small quantities, so maybe they also hoped that the nature of the poison would never be established. there must be something used to carry it I guess, but if only minuscule amounts are required then that might be quite small and easily concealed, and the perpetrator takes it away with them;

2a/ This nerve agent is not widely produced, so maybe even if the mechanism (nerve agent) was identified, the exact type might not be and hence any inquiry severely limited.

3/ I think they probably thought they would only affect 1 person - an explosion has considerable collateral damage, bullets can ricochet, car accidents are unpredictable. Poison administered to 1 person is probably thought to be highly precise... we don't know how it was administered or how the daughter and policeman contacted the agent, so maybe that also speaks to a level of unfamiliarity with the agent and/or amateurism.
 

occams rusty scissor

Senior Member.
2/ there is no forensic evidence lying around - this particular nerve gent was designed to be not detected by NATO testing systems, and extremely lethal in small quantities, so maybe they also hoped that the nature of the poison would never be established. there must be something used to carry it I guess, but if only minuscule amounts are required then that might be quite small and easily concealed, and the perpetrator takes it away with them;

2a/ This nerve agent is not widely produced, so maybe even if the mechanism (nerve agent) was identified, the exact type might not be and hence any inquiry severely limited.
Except there is seemingly quite a bit of forensic evidence laying about, enough to spark a hazmat response and give the UK enough reason to start chucking out diplomats.

3/ I think they probably thought they would only affect 1 person - an explosion has considerable collateral damage, bullets can ricochet, car accidents are unpredictable. Poison administered to 1 person is probably thought to be highly precise... we don't know how it was administered or how the daughter and policeman contacted the agent, so maybe that also speaks to a level of unfamiliarity with the agent and/or amateurism

There are so many other ways to kill someone, either with precision or with a bit of a smoke screen and make it look like a complete random event, I.e. mugging gone wrong. But if you must persist with poison, there are also plenty of poisons to choose from which are not so specific in origin and would be far easier for Russia to shrug.

It seems they wanted to leave a signature, why else use a weaponised nerve agent that is primarily a Russian invention? Perhaps they underestimated the blow back?
 

MikeC

Closed Account
Except there is seemingly quite a bit of forensic evidence laying about, enough to spark a hazmat response and give the UK enough reason to start chucking out diplomats.

Obviously - I was talking about motives and reasons - not results.



There are so many other ways to kill someone, either with precision or with a bit of a smoke screen and make it look like a complete random event, I.e. mugging gone wrong. But if you must persist with poison, there are also plenty of poisons to choose from which are not so specific in origin and would be far easier for Russia to shrug.

It seems they wanted to leave a signature, why else use a weaponised nerve agent that is primarily a Russian invention? Perhaps they underestimated the blow back?

there are non-weaponised nerve agents??

I gave you some possible reasons - that is all they are - POSSIBLE reasons.... whether they weer the reasons I do not know, but your comments are actually irrelevant to my post.
 

Efftup

Senior Member.
I reckon its a message sending thing, everyone knows to JFK someone with VX or Polonium, or Ricin filled pellets and a James Bond style brolly, the perps are gonna have to be state sponsered. They, in this case the Russian secret service, know the only real response the UK can give is diplomatic sanctions and expulsion of some embassy staff, which while politically incovenient in the short term, for both sides, will not be a biggie in the grand scheme of things. After all the UK, or NATO is not going to risk military hostilities over a dead or injured ex-spy, and the message is still sent that if you betray Mother Russia, they can and will get you at some point.

Of course the fact that around 20 civilians were caught up in the incident could have been very nasty.
Yes. I am glad my mum was in Bristol for mother;s day and hadn;t gone out for pizza.
 

occams rusty scissor

Senior Member.
Obviously - I was talking about motives and reasons - not results.

Ok...no worries. Just I took it you were saying there was no forensics where you said there were no forensics laying around..

there are non-weaponised nerve agents?
I don't know. There are a few non weaponised organophosphates? Not strictly deemed nerve agents I suppose.

I gave you some possible reasons - that is all they are - POSSIBLE reasons.... whether they weer the reasons I do not know, but your comments are actually irrelevant to my post.

OK...

I'm very sorry for being irrelevant to your post.
 

Agent K

Senior Member
The assassination attempt was not done cleanly (many people were contaminated), which suggests amateurism. But if the nerve agent is very difficult to produce, this suggests that a government made the stuff.

The same thing happened with the polonium poisoning of Litvinenko, where the suspects, Lugovoy and Kovtun, left a radioactive trail through London. And polonium is difficult to produce. Lugovoy brought his wife and children with him to London. Kovtun was hospitalized himself with radiation poisoning a month later.

Lugovoi and Kovtun, however, were rubbish assassins. The quality of Moscow’s hired killers had slipped since the glory days of the KGB. Their first attempt, in a Grosvenor Street boardroom, had not worked.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/19/alexander-litvinenko-the-man-who-solved-his-own-murder
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Also, recall the assassins of Kim Jong-un's half-brother. They say they were tricked into it, smearing VX or more likely its non-lethal components on their bare hands. One of them was sick herself afterwards.
 

Mick West

Administrator
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This is a topic about which there is obviously going to be disinformation at the highest level, organized and well funded. There will also be disinformation and spin at the individual level, from fans of either side.

If you want to post information then:
  • Use direct quotes.
  • Provide references (links) only to back up something you have quoted
  • Don't paraphrase.
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derwoodii

Senior Member.
I've been looking for arguments & evidence either way and would like to post these 2 sides

Doubts about “Novichoks”

https://timhayward.wordpress.com/20...uestions-to-be-addressed-regarding-novichoks/

Summary of the Key Issues that Need to be Addressed
1) There are reasons to doubt that these compounds are military grade nerve agents or that a Russian “Novichok” programme ever existed. If they were potentially usable as chemical weapons, people on the OPCW Scientific Advisory Board who were in a position to know the properties of these compounds would have recommended that they be added to the list of Scheduled Chemicals. They have never been added.

2) Synthesis at bench scale of organic chemicals such as the purported “Novichoks” is within the capability of a modern chemistry laboratory. Porton Down itself must have been able to synthesize these compounds in order to develop tests for them. The detection of such a compound does not establish Russian origin.
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And


'You cannot imagine the horror, it's so bad': Russian scientist who developed Novichok describes agonising convulsions caused by poison used on Sergei Skripal,, "Vil Mirzayanov"

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/...agent-used-on-sergei-skripal-2018-3?r=US&IR=T



  • [*]Former Soviet chemist Vil Mirzayanov has described the effects of Novichok, a type of nerve agent which he helped create.
    [*]Britain yesterday said Novichok was the chemical used to poison Sergei Skripal, a double agent who defected from Russia to Britain.
    [*]Mirzayanov said even low doses of Novichok cause agonising convulsions and pain akin to torture and is “impossible to imagine.”
    [*]He also said he is certain that Putin ordered the Skripal attack.
    Content from External Source

His "Vil Mirzayanov" book of 2008 checks out tho i not yet digested the full content only glanced at the into & reviews
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001U3YUU2/?tag=cowboyprogra-20

51hAzF7JPdL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg



So the who why etc is very tricky to determine given the nature of the event... Its unlikely to a be a scripted global conspiracy more likely just another tic for tac KGB spy vs spy revenge or it just might be FIFA setting the psych out sledging tone for World cup in Russia this June..
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Summary of the Key Issues that Need to be Addressed
1) There are reasons to doubt that these compounds are military grade nerve agents or that a Russian “Novichok” programme ever existed. If they were potentially usable as chemical weapons, people on the OPCW Scientific Advisory Board who were in a position to know the properties of these compounds would have recommended that they be added to the list of Scheduled Chemicals. They have never been added.
I'm not sure your point #1 is legitimate. this article I read is saying the point of OPCW is for "facility inspection" purposes. If no facility is admitting to making it, then what's the point of advertising the compounds? the article also says there are other known compounds not listed.

2007
One reason for not adding the novichoks and their precursors to the schedules is that the Russian government has refused to acknowledge their development. In addition, several Western countries worry that listing these compounds would disclose their molecular structure and thereby facilitate their acquisition by state proliferators and terrorist groups.

https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2007_01-02/Tucker

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