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Russian ex-spy critically ill after exposure to a "substance"

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  • Russian ex-spy critically ill after exposure to a "substance"

    Former Russian spy critically ill in UK 'after exposure to substance'
    Sergei Skripal, 66, and woman in 30s found unconscious on bench in Salisbury shopping centre

    One of the two people critically ill in a Salisbury hospital after “suspected exposure to an unknown substance” is a Russian man who was exchanged in a high-profile “spy swap” in 2010, the Guardian understands.

    Sergei Skripal, 66, was one of four Russians exchanged for 10 deep cover “sleeper” agents planted by Moscow in the US.

    Wiltshire police said that a man in his 60s and a woman in her 30s were found unconscious on a bench in the Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury on Sunday afternoon.

    Temporary assistant chief constable Craig Holden said that the pair were believed to have been known to each other and were in a critical condition. He added: “This has not been declared as a counter-terrorism incident and we would urge people not to speculate.

    “However, I must emphasise that we retain an open mind and we will continue to review this position.”

    The UK’s top counter-terrorism officer said his specialists were supporting the investigation. Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Mark Rowley said: “Clearly it’s a very unusual case and the critical thing is to get to the bottom of what has caused this incident as quickly as possible.

    A number of locations in the city centre were cordoned off and teams in full protective gear have used hoses to decontaminate the street.

    Workers in respirators and hazardous material suits searched bins close to the scene where the two collapsed.
    "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."

  • #2


    • #3
      It does on the face look very like Litvinenko #2 but there may be differences. I take it as self evident that Skripal and his daughter (the young woman) have been exposed to a toxic substance so the first question is how were they exposed? The KGB/FSB have used two basic methods; ingestion (as in Litvinenko and Yushchenko), before that they quite often used a spray as in the Bohdan Stashynsky (who later defected) assassinations; Bohan used a cyanide spray. The Georgi Markov murder where an umbrella -gun was used to inject ricin into the victim was really a one off. They have used other methods (face creams etc) but you cannot guarantee a person is going to use a cream, or how much of it etc so the point is to get the lethal dose into the victim in one go - and then scarper. Given that both the Father and daughter (as well apparently as a member of the emergency services) were exposed a Markov like injection can be ruled out leaving the ingestion with food/drink - they apparently ate at some pub (The Mill) shortly before being taken ill, or a spray in the street seem the only exposure alternatives. The BBC reports that The Bishops Mill pub and Zizzi restaurant has been sealed off but even then infecting their food (or drinks) without them noticing would be difficult. If you recall in the Litvinenko case Lugovoi and Kovtun knew Litvinenko was coming to meet them, knew he only drank tea and had the tea waiting for him when he arrived. Skripal and his daughter were not meeting anyone or on any business that we know of; they were enjoying 'family time' - the daughter visiting from Moscow. They could have had lunch somewhere else. Given the difficulties regarding an ingestion it would seem some sort of spray exposure is prima facie the most likely for of attack in the known circumstances.

      Then there is the question about the toxin was. Stashynsky used cyanide, Markov was ricin, Yushchenko was dioxin and Litvinenko famously polonium 210 from Sartov. It is hard enough to get Pl-210 into a liquid form (making it in it in the quantities ingested by Litvinenko itself is hard and requires the irradiation of bismuth) is particularly hard. Ricin could I am told in theory be made into a spray but was used in solid form in the Markov case. Dioxins are actually a range of toxic and less toxic substances some of which are liquid in natural form. I assume they have tested for Polonium already and as they have not said it was Polonium the results I assume were negative. They have not said what the symptoms of the victims are yet either but cyanide induces cardiac arrest so that perhaps can be ruled out; you survive the heart attack and you will recover. The reason it matters what the toxin was is because the production of some of the toxins we know have been used (such as Pl-210) are complicated, expensive and rare; the only facility in the world that produces Polonium still is the Mayak facility in Ozersk and to make alot of it (via the bismuth method) you need alot of time and therefore money. Thus it points to state involvement. The more common and the easier/less expensive it is to produce the toxin the wider the range of possible culprits. With Litvinenko it was partly because it was Pl-210 that it was concluded that it had to be sanctioned by the Muscovite Government at the highest level. Doubtless they have other toxins, sodium fluoroacetate that induces a heart attack has been suspected in some other UK deaths, the Alexander Perepilichny murder was some Chinese plant (see - the FSB has it's own research lab called in English the "Scientific Research Institute No 2" on Academician Varga Street in Moscow.

      I note the Muscovite Embassy has made the normal denial noises and normally you never believe something until they deny it. But if it was the Muscovite Government it seems a little like overkill and possibly counterproductive. Skripal retired in 1999 from what was then the GRU (he was a Colonel in First Directorate of the KGB before that). Open source information says he started working for SIS in the "late 90s" until he was arrested in 2004. He was swapped for the 10 illegals (including 'Anna Chapman') rounded up in the US in 2010. Apparently he was a very good asset when operative but this is a guy who has been out of touch with any active work since 2004 and who retired in 1999. Unlike Litvinenko he was not running around shouting abuse about Putin and had been caught, served six years and swapped of their own volition - whereas Litvinenko had escaped. Apparently he gave a few speeches about the old times but whatever knowledge he had you have to assume SIS already knew and given that he had not been active since 2004 his knowledge was more of a historical nature rather current matters. In effect he was retired; whatever he had known back in the 1990s was passed on already so he could not be a current threat. This means that if it was the Muscovite Government it is actually pointless from a 'stopping him telling them' point of view and just sheer bloody mindedness to prove a point. To me it doesn't make sense, you don't murder a guy you swapped; Bukovsky was never killed. Litvinenko kind of makes sense because he was still active (particularly in Spanish Mafia inquiries etc) and writing books etc... He escaped as well so an 'example' perhaps had to be made. But perhaps this is just how they role now; kill all 'traitors' regardless of their use or not. There have been a couple of assassinations in Kyiv of Muscovite refugees that have seemed equally senseless.

      Some have questioned whether Skripal was a Christopher Steele contact. It is possible they met but Steele's first stint in Moscow (1990-93) was before Skripal was recruited in the "late 90s". Steele later went on to run the Russia desk (2006 - 09) when Skripal was in prison so again this doesn't add up. Skripal contacts in Moscow would be too out of date or low level for the purposes of Steele's 'dossier' and their timelines do not connect so I think this theory can be discounted.

      There are some rumours regarding the 'suspicious' deaths of Skripal's Wife from car crash/cancer in 2012 and son, who apparently died of 'liver failure' or a 'car crash' last year while on holiday in St Petersburg with his girlfriend (who lives). Again there are no definite or accurate reports of how either died but a simple register of deaths search would reveal that. It would extremely abnormal for the Muscovites to go after the family - Marina Litvinenko was never a target - she's a dance teacher so why take the risk? Given that Yulia Skripal lives in Moscow why attack her in the UK? Because you have to understand that for them to undertake such an operation is risky. It is something they will undertake lightly and can be very expensive - the pot of tea that Litvinenko drank from alone and the drinks that Lugovoi and Kovtun had alone cost over 100, the polonium must have cost 10's of 1000s of $ (and it was their second attempt - the first dose went down a toilet).

      There is the possibility of an unsanctioned revenge attempt and to me from what I can read in the papers this at present looks the most likely. Apparently Skripal while working for SIS before his arrest was very effective accounting for quite a number of Soviet/Muscovite assets in the West who were either arrested or PNGed. Of course these people would regard his actions as betrayal - it was from their point of view. They may bear grudges. Perhaps one of them is still active in some part of the Muscovite GRU at a senior level? Such a person might be able to exact his revenge without it being sanctioned from above. Perhaps it was enacted merely as a contract killing but with the toxin 'borrowed' from the FSB? I can't say. I never read Skripal's file and don't know who he 'betrayed' or where they are now but I would imagine this is being checked.

      The case is now apparently turned over to the Counter Terrorism Unit and 'more is known' regarding the toxin - meaning it has been identified presumably. Upon the sophistication of the toxin they can perhaps proceed to further investigation.
      Last edited by snapper; 07 Mar 18,, 16:18.


      • #4
        Russian spy: Nerve agent 'used to try to kill' Sergei Skripal

        A nerve agent was used to try to murder a former Russian spy and his daughter, police have said.

        Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found unconscious in Salisbury on Sunday afternoon and remain critically ill.

        A police officer who was the first to attend the scene is now in a serious condition in hospital, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, head of Counter Terrorism Policing, said.

        Mr Rowley would not confirm the exact substance identified.

        He said: "Having established that a nerve agent is the cause of the symptoms leading us to treat this as attempted murder, I can also confirm that we believe that the two people who became unwell were targeted specifically."

        He said there was no evidence of a widespread health risk to the public.
        Last edited by Ironduke; 07 Mar 18,, 18:53.
        "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."


        • #5
          Might be one of the fabled "Novichok agents" some of which can be delivered in powder form - which would explain the emergency services person coming into contact with it perhaps if some powder was left on the victims. Would also explain them cleaning the streets as they apparently doing. The use of such a toxin makes it almost certain that it was obtained from No 2 NII (as the "Scientific Research Institute No 2" is known) and almost certainly done with the consent of the Muscovite 'Government'. It senselessness is astounding to me.


          • #6
            UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd said the nerve agent used in the poisoning was "very rare". Not sarin or VX then...



            • #7
              Russian spy: Military deployed after poisoning

              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.

              The military personnel - drawn mostly from the Army, but also from the Royal Marines and RAF - are experts in chemical warfare and decontamination.
              Those deployed include instructors from the Defence Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Centre and the 29 Explosive Ordnance Group, who are experts in bomb disposal.

              The military has also sent 18 vehicles.

              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.
              "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."


              • #8
                Apparently 21 people in all have received medical treatment in the aftermath of this attack. 'Rare' nerve agents are not the province of the non Governmental factions of what we call "terrorists"; the Tokyo tube attack of 1992 by Aum Shinrikyo is the last known 'private' nerve gas attack and sarin is one of the easier agents to make. The Syrians have used it most recently on their own people. What this 'rare' agent was is not yet made public but the fact that affected other innocent members of the British public - including DS Bailey - the policeman who attended the intended victims must make this an act of terror on British soil. The fact that it was without doubt sanctioned by Moscow at the highest level makes the whole Muscovite regime a terrorist mafia.


                • #9
                  At what point will the Cheetos Blunder actually enact those Russian sanctions he was supposed to do?


                  • #10
                    Theresa May says the agent was "weapons grade" of the novichok type produced by Muscovy. Muscovy must now be surely pronounced as 'terrorist state' the Ambassador expelled etc and the Londongrad oligarchs kicked out.

                    BBC report;
                    Last edited by snapper; 12 Mar 18,, 19:32.


                    • #11
                      It looks like economics sanctions. :

                      Most likely to be followed by a cyber attack. Nothing of consequence happened after the Ukraine Cyber Attack.



                      • #12
                        Why is the White House, even when pressed, not condoning Muscovy and standing by it's ally? Surely "full cooperation" in investigations and sharing would be normal but no... they cannot denounce Moscow. Never. Ever. Why? God save Mueller.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by snapper View Post
                          Why is the White House, even when pressed, not condoning Muscovy and standing by it's ally? Surely "full cooperation" in investigations and sharing would be normal but no... they cannot denounce Moscow. Never. Ever. Why? God save Mueller.
                          From the BBC

                          White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders called the attack an "outrage" and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson went further, saying the attack "clearly came from Russia". President Donald Trump himself has not spoken out.


                          • #14
                            Tillerson evidently didn't get the memo in time. It was actually painful listening to a clip of that spokeslady trying to not say "Russia" which I note your President has NEVER condemned but shared classified information with in the White House. You do not have to be a genius to connect dots. Try it.

                            "Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow - if so, will he become my new best friend?" Seriously wtf? I would not write to my husband like that in public. We now a copy of his letter inviting Putin to the flesh show where you can just grab them by their private parts. But this is a cry for help and for Putin to get on board - in public. Did he send roses too? Offer to sing under the Kremlin walls like some knight to his illicit lover in the old chivalric songs? Well it turned out somehow Putin did become his best friend and interfered in the US election in which he happened to stand. Maybe the roses won Putin over? Maybe Sasha Litvinenko was right and Putin is a pedophile so needed something else. Maybe that explains the 'deals' - like 'Maison L'Amitie' (which again they managed to spell wrong!) that Trump bought for $40m and sold 4yrs later - without doing any improvements - to a pal of Putin's for just under $100m. No money laundering there for sure - move on. How about the casinos that admitted to money laundering though? Oops? A one off? The Bayrock deal with 'Felix Slater' (real name being Felix Mikhailovich Sheferovsky) who's Father is a moskal Mafia sub boss escaped to Israel on the Trump Soho deal? How come so many rented apartments at Trump Tower? Just a coincidence again that Manafort and Page et al got hired for the campaign, that Trumps lawyer Cohen was still negotiating for 'Trump Tower' in Moscow, that Manafort offered Deripaska briefings, that Page went to Moscow with the knowledge of the campaign, that others met in some far flung island and just 'happened' to bump into each other though all three arrived for three days, arrived on the same day and left the same day. That Tillerson was awarded a medal by Putin? That Flynne also visited Moscow and sat next to Putin but just happened to get hired? That the Muscovite Ambassador was at the Conference where the policy was changed? That the son, son in law and Manafort met with a Muscovite lawyer about "adoption"? Only it turned out it was nothing to with adoption but about sanctions. That the CIA chief was fired? That Trump admitted it was about his Muscovite dealings and Comey's inquiry into them? I mean I could go on - and on and on - there is plenty more. Bombing a Syrian airfield - the moskals got told first. If you cannot connect the dots here it is because you are choosing to close your eyes.
                            Last edited by snapper; 13 Mar 18,, 10:00.


                            • #15
                              Russian spy: What are Novichok agents and what do they do?

                              A former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned by a chemical that is part of a group of nerve agents known as Novichok, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has said.

                              Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain critically ill after the attempted murder in Salisbury on 4 March.

                              The chemical was identified by experts at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down.
                              More here:
                              "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."