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Something stinks and it’s not the Novichok

MI5 may be up to its old tricks again to prevent Jeremy Corbyn becoming British Prime Minister

The smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn

The March edition of Village reported why claims by Jan Sarkocy, a former Czech spy who had served as a diplomat in the UK in the 1980s, that Jeremy Corbyn had been recruited by the Soviet Union as a spy, were groundless. It pointed to an official statement issued by Radek Schovánek, a Czech Republic Defence Ministry official, who has responsibility for examining the old StB spy files, which confirmed that Corbyn was not a traitor.

At the time, it did not look like Sarkocy’s allegation had gained traction except with a few Blimps in the shires. However, the combination of Sarkocy’s smear and the subsequent controversy about the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, in Salisbury, England, has seen Corbyn’s rat- ings take a tumble in the polls. The Labour leader has been made to look unpatriotic in the eyes of many middle-ground UK voters for questioning the line being put out by the Conservatives that the Skripals had been attacked by the Russian intelligence service, the FSB.
There are, however, good reasons to doubt the official Tory line on the Skripal affair.

 

A lot of BZ

It has now emerged that the nerve agent Novichok was not the only compound involved in the attack on the Skripals. According to the independent Swiss-state Spiez laboratory, traces of a toxin known as 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate, or BZ, were found in the substance which felled the Skripals.

The sample taken from the Skripal attack was collected by British scientists who turned it over to the Organisation for the Prohibition of the Chemical weapons (OPCW) which then passed it to the Spiez laboratory in Switzerland.

BZ (sometimes referred to as ‘Agent 15’) is a hallucinogenic and incapacitating chemical and is regarded as one of the most potent of all psychoactive chemical agents – the resultant coma can last for several days and the mortality rate is very high. Bearing in mind that both of the Salisbury victims have survived, it would appear the dosage level was low. That may have been deliberated – to create a storm of outrage, but not actually kill anyone. Having said that, the perpetrators would have taken a major risk because no one could be sure of the outcome.

Both the US and the Russians did trials on the use of BZ and it was suspected that it was used in the Bosnian conflict.

Let’s return the focus now to Novichok. It is a nerve agent and is designed to kill. There would be no point in deploying BZ alongside it. Mixing BZ and Novichok would be like dipping a bullet in LSD before aiming at the heart of a target.

The right-wing media in the UK is ignoring this hugely significant development in the story, something that indicates that strings are being pulled by the Establishment in the background to keep it quiet.

Who originally manufactured BZ is actually of little assistance in unravelling what really happened to the Skripals in Salisbury. The Russians could have manufactured it with ease. Equally, the British could have cooked up a dose of Novichok. While Novichok was invented in Russia, one of the chemists involved in its creation defected to the West decades ago with the formula. Indeed, the British scientists at Porton Down – where all sorts of chemicals are created – certainly knew what they were dealing with and had the antidote conveniently to hand to save the Skripals.

FSB OR NOT FSB

So, what is going on? Either the Russian FSB did it or they didn’t. Let’s look at the two scenarios.

Scenario one: the FSB did it. In this scenario the Russians attempted to kill Skripal because they were angry that having caught and sentenced him to a term of imprisonment for espionage in Russia, he later had to be exchanged to secure the release of one of their agents held by the West, ‘Anna Chapman’. The message to potential traitors is that no matter what happens, you will never be forgiven.

The problem with this is that nothing like this has happened in the past. Moreover, logic would dictate that if Skripal was killed by FSB assassins, the West might retaliate by murdering Anna Chapman, or a suitable alternative. Would the FSB want to set this sort of precedent just to get at a washed-out traitor of no consequence; a man they were prepared to let go to the West who clearly had no secrets worth sharing anymore? Was Skripal worth the entirely predictable outcome that an assassination attempt on him on UK soil would lead to waves of expulsions and weaken the FSB across the globe?

There are further problems: the FSB is not the type of organisation to botch an assassination attempt and there would have been far easier ways of murdering Skripal, such as pushing him out in front of a moving car late on a Saturday night with no one really any the wiser that it was murder.

Yet another problem is that nine alleged ‘hot spots’ in Salisbury have been closed off to the public so that they can apparently be decontaminated, something that the papers are being told will take months. This alone will keep the story alive for months to come. Yet if even one or two sites had been contaminated with anything other than a minuscule dosage, lines of sick and dying people would have been forming outside the hospitals in Salisbury for weeks. Nothing of the sort has happened.

The latest twist is that someone referred to as “Gordon”, a 54-year-old “former FSB spy” and a team of five or six accomplices, were behind the plot. Apparently, ‘Gordon’ has used the alias ‘Mihails Savickis’ but his real name is not being revealed. Does he even exist? Why would the FSB send a “former” spy to do its dirty work in Salisbury? The British media is also reporting that “Gordon” has fled the UK and will probably never be caught.

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                Anna Chapman

Scenario two: the FSB didn’t do it. This could only mean that it was a dirty trick perpetrated by MI5 and/or MI6 in conjunction with other NATO intelligence services. In this scenario MI5/6 may have instructed the Dr Strangeloves at Porton Down to manufacture a tepid dose of Novichok laced with a small dose of BZ. Once Skripal came into contact with it, he would collapse due to the BZ and then conveniently ‘come to the attention’ of whoever was around him. Assuming he was kept under close surveillance by the dirty-tricks team behind the plot, his collapse would provide them with the opportunity to ensure he was ‘rescued’. Conveniently, MI5/6 had deposited Skripal in a housing estate a mere ten miles away from Porton Down. Hence, the scientists there were able to rush to his rescue and ‘save’ him and his daughter ‘just in the nick of time’ with a perfectly matched antidote.

The problem with this scenario is that we are assured by the people at the top of MI5 and MI6 that they always act within the law and do not put people in harm’s way.

Irrespective, MI5 and MI6 must be only too delighted with the resulting boost for Theresa May while Jeremy Corbyn – who the spooks hate – has taken a tumble. This will have a special appeal for Sir Richard Dearlove, Chief of MI6 Chief, 1999-2004. He stated publicly a short while ago that Corbyn has questions to answer over the Sarkocy-Czech spy affair.

There is a stink in Douma too and it’s not the chlorine-sarin gas

Meanwhile… is it credible that President Assad of Syria gassed his own people again last month? Only a few weeks ago, Donal Trump tweeted that he was about to pull his troops out of Syria because ISIS has been defeated. In April of 2017 Assad was meant to have deployed gas on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in north-western Syria. The response by the US was a barrage of rockets directed at Assad’s forces. Why, with this precedent established, would Assad engage in an act of unimaginable knuckle-dragging stupidity -. the deployment of chemicals in Douma – a year later? Trump is not now going to pull out of Syria. Instead, he has bombed Assad with aid from the UK and France.

One person who has his doubts about the official narrative is Major General Jonathan Shaw, the former head of Britain’s Special Air Force (SAS) and the Parachute Regiment. “Why would Assad use chemical weapons at this time? He’s won the war. That’s not just my opinion, it is shared by senior commanders in the US military. There is no rationale behind Assad’s involvement whatsoever. He’s convinced the rebels to leave occupied areas in buses. He’s gained their territory. So why would he be bothering gassing them?”.

It is equally likely that the anti-Assad resistance – which is on its last legs – either faked the attack or got their hands on some sort of chlorine gas and used it in a desperate and deranged attempt to stave off inevitable defeat.

Major General Shaw’s opinion is shared by Admiral Lord West, the former head of the Royal Navy. “If I was advising President Assad”, he has said, “why would I say use chemical weapons at this point? It doesn’t make any sense. But for the jihadist opposition groups I can see why they would”.

Suffice it to say, the right-wing media has also exploited Corbyn’s reluctance to act as a cheerleader for the bombing of Syria to make him look unpatriotic. He is also being portrayed as an anti-Semite.

The impact of all of this on the May 2018 local elections may give a boost to the machinations of forces murky and malign.

Joseph de Búrca