The Skripals mystery & a new Novichok affair: No end in sight?

Farid Hajili Analysis 6 July 2018
The Skripals mystery & a new Novichok affair: No end in sight?

There was another Novichok attack on a British couple who were found unconsciously at their home in Amesbury, Britain, near Salisbury, where former Russian GRU military intelligence agency officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found after an alleged nerve agent attack.

At that time, Britain rushed to blame Russia for the nerve agent attack on its soil, and in response to the accusations of Russian involvement in the poisoning of the Skripals, President Vladimir Putin advised Britain to deal with the poisoning of the agent in the U.K. before discussing the case with Moscow.

"You get to the bottom of this for yourselves, and then we will discuss this with you," Interfax news agency quoted Putin as saying then.

Nevertheless, the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in the U.K., along with his daughter, still remains a mystery. The mutual accusations led to expulsion of diplomats from Moscow and London as a tit-for-tat response. The move was also followed by many European nations as a sign of solidarity with Britain. The Skripals survived and were blocked off from the public eye after leaving the hospital.

However, another similar incident hit Britain and just recently, another couple was found unconsciously at their home. British Home Secretary Sajid Javid called on Russia to explain what happened in Amesbury.

The call on the Kremlin for an explanation is a curious move and one must rub one’s eye and ask, what’s going on in Britain. The Brits have not solved the Skripal incident; they took the same line in the Amesbury affair. Perhaps, the May government doesn’t have their intelligence services under control.

Already the Skripal case has not made any political sense since blaming Russia and Putin for the attack seemed to be a diversionary maneuver to boycott the World Cup at the outset. The new staged affair aims at Russia’s possible win of the World Cup and the West wants to spoil, at least emotionally, Russia’s success of hosting the world as a guest among friends.

With the most of reporting negative on Russia, the German media are extremely biased and instead of talking about Russia’s incredible achievements to host the world’s best football teams, the German newspapers wrote about corruption, doping and their like.

After Germany failed, the German TV-commentators had nothing better to do than talking about Russia’s shortcomings instead of criticizing German Team Couch Loew’s miserable team performance. Immediately, the mainstream media swayed into an anti-Russian mode. This anti-Russian mode will presumably pick up the pace after the Brits try to blame this newly staged incident again on Russia, eurasianews.com reports.

Instead of resigning immediately, the German couch Loew stays on such as Chancellor Angela Merkel who is hard-pressed not only by her coalition partner, the Christian Social Union, but also by the opposition parties. Merkel is isolated among the European Union member states that hold her responsible for the division of Europe because of her irresponsible and anti-constitutional immigration policy.

What works best in the West is anti-Russian propaganda. Now the Brits are constructing a case that the couple might have come in touch with a container in which Novichok was brought to Britain. Isn’t it very strange that the new incident just happened a few miles away from Salisbury? Just aside Salisbury there is a British chemical factory that produces Novichok itself.

So far, the British government has not presented any evidence of the first Novichok attack against the Skripals not to speak of the new incidence. Nonetheless, the media has already stigmatized a foreign enemy. Instead of asking questions about the role of their own intelligence agencies or the involvement of foreign ones, in the end, Russia will be the perpetrator. The Brits are using a cookie-cutter approach; ‘You just have to repeat a lie often enough, and it becomes the truth.’

Haven’t MI5 and MI6 a vast criminal record, not to speak of the CIA, the Mossad, the French and the German secret services? But for the Western media, these institutions are sacrosanct, although they are criminal by definition. This time, the staged coup by the British government will not garner any international support like in the made-up Skripal affair. If the media delivered the goods, they would show up for this fraud. But the media in the Western world have a very closely related relationship with the ruling classes, they support and legitimize their positions. Like in the new Novichok affair, the truth is relative, pick one that works.

Background of the Skripal case

Hot on the heels of Putin’s brief reaction to the poisoning incident, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denied any role in the case and rejected British demands that Moscow explain why a Russian-made nerve agent was used in the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, on March 4.

Under the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Britain was obliged to immediately appeal to a country suspected of using the substance, Sergei Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow on Tuesday, adding that Russia did not receive an inquiry from Britain for the substance allegedly used for the poisoning.

"If we are talking about what Great Britain is obliged to do in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention, it is as follows: First, immediately after suspicions emerge that a toxic substance banned by the convention was used, one needs to immediately contact the country that is suspected of being the country of origin of the substance, and a response to this enquiry is given within 10 days,” Lavrov explained.

“If the country that requested information is not satisfied with the response, then this country, in this case Great Britain will need to appeal to the executive council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the conference of the member states of the Chemical Weapons Convention,” he said.

The Russian foreign minister also added that the side that received the request has the right to get access to the substance in question, in order to be able to carry out its own analysis. Lavrov blamed the British government for a rumor that a substance made in Russia was used in the poisoning of the Skripals.

“Russia sent an official note requesting an access to this substance, so that our experts could analyze it in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention,” Lavrov said, adding that Russia is also inquiring into the facts regarding Yulia Skripal, who was a Russian citizen.

Russia accuses the U.K. of not providing it with access to the substance, nor sufficient information, saying British officials are being vague in their responses to the Kremlin’s inquiries.

On March 13, the British ambassador to Russia, Laurie Bristow, was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry, where Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov expressed, “a resolute protest against the sweeping accusation by the British government of Russia's involvement in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.”

Titov blamed the British government of open provocation, rejecting any role of Russia in the poisoning. The Russian diplomat reiterated that Moscow would not respond to London's ultimatum until it is presented with samples of the chemical substance that the British investigation is referencing.

Without this, Titov said, all statements by London were meaningless and Moscow viewed the incident as another sordid attempt by the British government to discredit Russia. Titov warned that any attempt by the U.K. to slap new sanction on Russia would not go without retribution.

The Russian embassy in London urged Britain to consider the consequences of any attempt to launch a cyberattack on Russia, which have been mentioned in the British parliament and in the media, according to reports by Russia’s RIA Novosti published on March 13.

Earlier, The Times, citing a cabinet source, said London was considering a secret cyberattack against Russia over the poisoning of the former spy.

"Statements by several MPs and also media reports, citing sources in the government about possible use of 'offensive cyberattack potential' cause serious concern. Judging by Prime Minister Theresa May's statement, such a decision could be taken as soon as tomorrow at the meeting of the National Security Committee. We call on Britain once again to weigh up the consequences of such a reckless decision," the Russian embassy said in a statement.

One cannot intimidate Russia, let alone speak the language of ultimatums with the country that has a powerful arsenal of nuclear warheads, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a comment meant to hit back at British Prime Minister Theresa May's remark that Moscow was "highly likely" behind the poisoning of an ex-spy.”