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Rob Slane

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The Skripal Case: 20 New Questions That Journalists Might Like to Start Asking

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While the world’s attention has been largely focused on Syria for the past couple of weeks, we must not forget the Skripal case. The reason for this is that the two events appear to be inextricably linked, either because they show that the Russian and Syrian Governments are willing and able to use chemical weapons for their own ends, or because they show that the Governments of the United States, United Kingdom and France in particular are willing to use false accusations for their own ends.

Russia and Syria have been in the dock and apparently found guilty, but as ever the burden of proof lies with those making the accusations to show the certain evidence they have to back up their claims. However, the only thing that can be said with absolute certainty, regardless of which of these versions is correct, is that those who have made the accusations have not shown anything like the evidence needed to substantiate their claims.

Indeed, the biggest connection between the two events is not the “Who Dunnit” aspect, but rather the fact that guilt has been assigned and reprisals taken prior to the results of the investigations, and therefore before facts could be established with any certainty. Legally, morally and logically this is obvious nonsense, and it is a testament to the decline of educational standards in the West, and the triumph of emotional arguments over ones which appeal to facts and logic, that there are many who appear simply unable to grasp these very basic concepts.
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Why Theresa May Must be Impeached

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So the moment we’ve been holding our breaths for a week finally came. In the end, I am mighty glad that this particular strike seems more like the impotent thrashing of the neocon snake that didn’t dare to attack places where Russian servicemen were likely to be killed, than it does the start of World War III. For the moment, at least, thank God.
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From Skripal to Syria – The Empire’s 'New Realities' Are Reaching The End of the Road

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“That’s not the way the world really works anymore. We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

Thus spake Karl Rove, Deputy Chief of Staff in the Government of George W. Bush.
I do wish people would study Rove’s words more carefully. Judiciously study them. If they did, then whenever the next alleged atrocity occurs and the United States, together with its coalition of supine vassals, starts yelling and hollering 10 minutes later for action to be taken, on the basis of a test-tube full of washing powder, or pictures of injured women and children in a war zone, and the entire media of dutiful stenographers shrieks that “something must be done”, then perhaps we might pause and wonder if we are being played. Instead of falling into an emotional spasm, maybe we would instead reject the deafening drumbeats of war – wars that have a habit of killing immeasurably more women and children than the alleged incidents on which they are based, by the way — and ask ourselves whether “Rove’s Law” has come into play.

As an aside, the West’s interventionist wars remind me of that wonderfully cynical exchange in the film, The Man With Two Brains:
Dr. Hfuhruhurr: “The only time we doctors should accept death is when it’s caused by our own incompetence!”

Dr. Necessiter: “Nonsense! If the murder of twelve innocent people can help save one human life, it will have been worth it!”
Here’s Dr. Necessiter selling us into war in Iraq: “Nonsense! If it costs us the deaths of 500,000 people to topple the evil dictator Saddam Hussein, it will have been worth it!”
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The Slowly Building Anger in the UK at the Government’s Handling of the Skripal Case

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In her daily press conference on 5th April, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, mentioned a quiet resentment and fury that is building up amongst ordinary Russians over the way the Government of the United Kingdom has handled the case of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Strange though it may seem, I sense a similar feeling of anger and resentment building up here in the UK, as it becomes clearer and clearer that the official narrative has little or no connection with reality.

The anger and frustration is increasingly being displayed on comment boards underneath pieces reporting on the issue. And the feeling is not confined to those who would normally be labelled “conspiracy theorists”. It appears that even many of those who would not normally question official statements can see that something is seriously wrong with all this.

More specifically, from whence comes this feeling? Here are just 20 of the many reasons for this growing anger:

1. It comes from being asked to believe frankly outlandish claims – such as the one that is central to the whole incident, that the Skripals, who are very much alive and well, were poisoned by a military-grade nerve agent with a toxicity 5-8 times that of VX.

2. It comes from the way that our Government recklessly accused another country – a nuclear-armed country at that – of committing a crime before the investigation into the incident had established the most basic of facts.
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The Three Most Important Aspects of the Skripal Case so Far … and Where They Might be Pointing

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I have now asked a total of 50 questions around the Skripal case, which you can find here and here. Having gone back through these questions, as far as I can see only three have been answered by the release of public information or events that have transpired. These are:

Are they (Sergei and Yulia Skripal) still alive?

If so, what is their current condition and what symptoms are they displaying?

Can the government confirm that its scientists at Porton Down have established that the substance that poisoned the Skripals and D.S. Bailey was actually produced or manufacturedin Russia?

On the first two points we are now told that Yulia Skripal’s condition has significantly improved to the point where she is said to be recovering well and talking. However, although this provides something of an answer to these questions, it also raises a number of others. Is she finally being allowed consular access? Is she being allowed to speak to her fiancé, her grandmother, or her cousin by telephone? Most importantly, how does her recovery comport with the claim that she was poisoned with a “military-grade nerve agent” with a toxicity around 5-8 times that of VX nerve agent?
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20 More Questions That Journalists Should be Asking About the Skripal Case

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To my knowledge, none of the questions I wrote in my previous piece – 30 questions That Journalists Should be Asking About the Skripal Case – has been answered satisfactorily, at least not in the public domain. Yet despite the fact that these legitimate questions have not yet been answered, and many important facts surrounding the case are still unknown, the case has given rise to a serious international crisis, with the extraordinary expulsion of Russian diplomats across many EU countries and particularly the United States on March 26th.

This is a moment to stop and pause. A man and his daughter were poisoned in the City of Salisbury on 4th March. Yet despite the fact that investigators do not yet appear to know how they were poisoned, when they were poisoned, or where they were poisoned, a number of Western nations have used the incident as a pretext for the co-ordinated expulsion of diplomats on a scale not witnessed even during the height of the Cold War. These are clearly very abnormal and very dangerous times.

I pointed out in my previous piece that it is not my intention to advance some sort of conspiracy theory on this blog. It remains the case that I simply don’t have any holistic theory — “conspiracy” or otherwise — for who carried this out, and I continue to retain an open mind. But since the Government of my country has rushed to judgement without many of the facts of the case being established, and since this has led to the biggest deterioration in relations between nuclear-armed nations since the Cuban Missile Crisis, it seems to me that it is more important than ever to keep asking questions in the hope that answers will come.
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30 Questions That Journalists Should be Asking About the Skripal Case

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There are a lot of issues around the case of Sergei and Yulia Skripal which, at the time of writing, are very unclear and rather odd. There may well be good and innocent explanations for some or even all of them. Then again there may not. This is why it is crucial for questions to be asked where, as yet, there are either no answers or deeply unsatisfactory ones.


Some people will assume that this is conspiracy theory territory. It is not that, for the simple reason that I have no credible theory — conspiracy or otherwise — to explain all the details of the incident in Salisbury from start to finish, and I am not attempting to forward one. I have no idea who was behind this incident, and I continue to keep an open mind to a good many possible explanations.

However, there are a number of oddities in the official narrative, which do demand answers and clarifications. You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist or a defender of the Russian state to see this. You just need a healthy scepticism, “of a type developed by all inquiring minds!”

Below are 30 of the most important questions regarding the case and the British Government’s response, which are currently either wholly unanswered, or which require clarification.
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