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UK Poisonings: Could Be A Leak From Porton Down

The mysterious Soviet-era chemical substance Novichok is suddenly back in the news

13.07.2018 01:54 Andrew Korybko, political analyst

UK Poisonings: Could Be A Leak From Porton Down

Earlier this year the world was introduced to an exotic-sounding chemical weapons agent called “Novichok”, which the UK claimed was used by the Russian special services to poison former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the town of Salisbury. The Western Mainstream Media narrative was chock full of holes from the very beginning but alleged that Russia for some unexplainable reason decided to try and kill this traitor years after he was caught, sent to the UK following a spy swap, and retired, apparently deciding to do so in the most dramatic way possible by using the Novichok chemical weapon that was purportedly only ever manufactured in the Soviet Union. The story didn’t make sense from the get-go, and Russia was never allowed to investigate or even interview its two citizens who survived the assassination attempt.

That in and of itself was a glaring red flag because it’s extremely doubtful that anyone would have lived had they been deliberately exposed to the trace amounts of Novichok needed to kill them, but this surprising twist in the tale seemed to confirm Russia’s suspicions that the entire event was staged to an extent in order to implicate it in this crime through exaggerated innuendo that would then function as the pretext for imposing further sanctions against it. Moreover, the Salisbury Saga served to destroy any hope that the post-Brexit UK could enter into a meaningful comprehensive partnership with Russia after it leaves the EU, something that strategically disadvantages the island nation much more than the continental one. Whatever the conclusion was that one ultimately reached regarding the Novichok scandal, it was more or less thought that the issue was settled, but then Amesbury happened.

Out of the blue, two more people in a nearby town fell ill after having come into contact with what investigators determined was a Novichok-grade chemical weapons substance, though the victims have no clear connection to the Skripals or Russia. Even more curiously, one of their friends claimed that the couple would “dumpster dive”, or sort through other people’s trash for valuables or anything else that they thought they could use, which means that a Novichok-contaminated item related to the Skripal case might have been improperly disposed of and therefore put the public’s health in jeopardy. More speculatively, it can’t be ruled out that the nearby Porton Down military science facility might have even been secretly producing Novichok or something very close to it for warfare or “experimental” purposes, but that the substance is now dangerously leaking out.

Before this possibility is dismissed as simply being “conspiratorial”, the reader should be reminded that the USSR wasn’t the only country capable of creating Novichoks despite the Mainstream Media’s claims to the contrary. Actually, Russian defector Vil Mirzayanov, who was a chemical weapons scientist in the former Soviet Union, included the formula for it in his publicly available book “State Secrets: An Insider's Chronicle of the Russian Chemical Weapons Program”, which therefore theoretically enabled any state or non-state actor to create it. Not only that, but the Czech Republic later admitted that it previously carried out the so-called “microsynthesis” of this weapon for “training purposes”, meaning that Moscow definitely doesn’t have a monopoly on this substance like the media stated. It’s with this in mind that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the Amesbury incident as being a “danger not only to UK citizens, but to all other Europeans.”

It’s unclear exactly where the two Novichoks came from, but the fact is that they were both used in the UK and one person has already died as a result. If a chemical weapon was mysteriously used in public in two separate incidents elsewhere and there were reasonable grounds for suspecting that it might have even come from a nearby military laboratory, then the West would have immediately sanctioned the said country and demanded that international experts be given access to all of its relevant facilities as soon as possible under pane of “surgical strikes” or all-out war. Because it’s the UK that’s the scene of these scandals and not a “Global South” state such as Gaddafi’s pre-war Jamahiriya, that’s of course not going to happen in this case no matter the “sweet justice” that this would be for many people across the world.

Before concluding, serious attention should be paid to the scenario of a chemical leak from Porton Down, which might have realistically been the cause of the Amesbury affair. It’s telling that the UK didn’t reactively blame Russia for it and impose sanctions per what appeared to be the scripted plan that kicked into gear during the Skripal scandal, suggesting that London was just as caught off guard by this as Moscow was. The situation could have easily been exploited by the UK for anti-Russian sanction and infowar ends but it wasn’t, or strangely at least not yet, which is itself a sign that this event was indeed unexpected. Should that actually be the case, then the UK has a bigger problem on its hands than anyone could have predicted, and this might not be the last time that the world hears about Novichok poisonings in the country.

DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.  

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