All posts by leruscino

Don’t Panic! Lighten Up! Smiley Skripal case forces scientists to revise everything they thought they knew about Novichok

OffGuardian

skripalWarning: This article is likely to contain traces of satire.

In the aftermath of the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury on 4th March, scientists are currently re-evaluating their understanding of A-234 – or Novichok as it is more commonly known. Prior to the poisoning, it had been thought that the substance was around 5-8 times more toxic than VX nerve agent, and therefore that just a tiny drop would be likely to kill a person within minutes or possibly even seconds of them coming into contact with it. In the unlikely event of a person surviving, it was believed that their central nervous system would be completely destroyed, and that they would suffer numerous chronic health issues, including cirrhosis, toxic hepatitis, and epilepsy before dying a premature and miserable death, probably within a year or so.

However, according to an anonymous source at the Porton…

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OPCW collaboration in Skripal misinformation?

OffGuardian

by David Macilwain

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At a recent press briefing, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova in her inimitable style picked on the loose and unscientific language rattling round the corridors of Western power – “it was “highly likely” that Russia was responsible for trying to poison the Skripals with a nerve agent.”

She rightly questioned the sanity and motivation of a government prepared to take such provocative and dangerous actions based merely on this supposition of guilt, even if that supposition were true. (which of course it wasn’t – see below -) While “highly likely” appeared to be sufficient proof to satisfy the UK’s already determinedly Russo-phobic partners, who joined in the diplomatic expulsions with barely any encouragement, to anyone with a fair and scientific mind such a standard of evidence is little better than hearsay.

“Highly likely” has a history of use – or misuse – that led…

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Alexander Shulgin to the OPCW

OffGuardian

The following is the unofficial translation of the statement made by Alexander Shulgin, the head of Russian delegation at the OPCW, at that body’s April 18 Executive Council meeting at the Hague.   The text is provided by the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Netherlands.

Mr. Chairperson,

I would like to start my speech with the words that belong to the great thinker Martin Luther, “A lie is like a snowball: the further you roll it, the bigger it becomes”.

This wise aphorism is fully applicable to politics. He who has chosen the path of deception will have to lie again and again, making up explanations for discrepancies, spreading disinformation and doing forgery, desperately using all means to cover the tracks of the lies and to hide the truth.

The United Kingdom has entered this slippery path. We can clearly see all of this on the example of…

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Aftermath of the alleged gas attack on Douma, an evolving narrative: Part 2

OffGuardian

a map of potential confrontation

Two days since we posted the first part of this and much has happened. Rumours abounding, threats flying. And a belated sense of fear and disquiet developing in some quarters of the media.

There is still no evidence any chemical attack occurred in Douma at all, and even less for who may have been responsible should it turn out to have occurred, but still the crazed narrative hurtles on with all the energy and disregard for reality of an hallucinating junkie. A new “coalition of the willing” (involving the US, France, UK, and some Arab states) seems to be forming, bent on “punishing” the Assad government for the potentially non-existent attacks. Those suggesting there should be a wait for evidence risk being called “Assad apologists” by people like Michael Gove.

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“aide-memoire” from the Russian Foreign Ministry “to clarify the state of affairs” in the ‘Skripal case’

OffGuardian

This is the text of an “aide-memoire” on the Skripal case, ssued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, 21 March 2018. It’s a reasonable summary of the state of play thus far, and helps us to understand the Russian perspective on

1. On 12 March 2018, Prime Minister of Great Britain Theresa May, addressing the House of Commons, said it was “highly likely” that the Russian Federation was responsible for the poisoning of former GRU colonel, double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal on 4 March 2018 in Salisbury, with a nerve agent identified according to British classification as A-234.

The United Kingdom has publicly raised a question about Russia’s “concealing” and “using” part of its chemical arsenal, thus alleging that Russia has “violated” its obligations under the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and…

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UK media admits that in Skripal case: due process ‘does not apply’ to Russia

OffGuardian

by Alexander Mercouris at the Duran

It is becoming increasingly difficult for the British authorities and for the British media to deny that ‘due process‘ – ie. the well-established system of rules for conducting fair and impartial trials and investigations in order to determine questions of guilt or innocence – are not being followed by the British authorities in the Skripal case.

Here are some of the violations of due process the British authorities which in my opinion the British authorities are committing:

(1) The British government is interfering in the conduct of a criminal investigation, with Prime Minister Theresa May and especially Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson pointing fingers at who they say is guilty (Russia) whilst the criminal investigation is still underway;

(2) The British government has said that unless Russia proves itself innocent within a specific time the British government will conclude…

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Putin’s message couldn’t be clearer: we need to stop provoking a war we don’t want & which no one can win

OffGuardian

Does anyone in the West understand what the real point of Putin’s comments about Russia’s new weaponry?

The Guardian’s coverage (“Putin threatens US arms race with new missiles declaration”) shows us their masters see this as just another chance to cast Russia as a dangerous rogue state. The Times takes a similar line (“Putin unveils his super weapons to defy the West”). Elsewhere Putin’s speech is not only misinterpreted it’s also relegated to sidebars in favour of photos of snow (Telegraph), or dropped into the tiny print at the bottom of the page (New York Times).

The western press has basically opted out of analysing this, so let’s do it for them. Why is Putin talking about the new generation of weapons? What does he hope to achieve?

First and foremost what Putin’s speech – just as all his previous warnings – are ultimately intended…

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