What evidence does the UK actually have that Russia is behind the nerve agent attack?

Is it happening all over again?  Are technical experts being coerced by politicians to sign on to what are, at best, misleading statements?

Here is a summary of the official story right off of the BBC website:

The British government is expelling 23 Russian diplomats after Moscow refused to explain how a nerve agent was used against former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia in Salisbury on Sunday 4 March. Prime Minister Theresa May said the chemical used in the attack had been identified as being part of a group of nerve agents developed by Russia known as Novichok.

In other words, there is strong circumstantial evidence of a link between the nerve agent that was used and Russia.  This has  then been taken as proof of Russian government involvement at the highest levels.

“We do hold Russia culpable for this brazen, brazen act and despicable act,” Prime Minister Theresa May said during a visit to the site of the attack in Wiltshire.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, writing in the Guardian on Thursday, 15 March, urged the UK government to take a “calm, measured” approach – and warned against the drift towards a “new cold war” with Russia:

To rush way ahead of the evidence being gathered by the police, in a fevered parliamentary atmosphere, serves neither justice nor our national security.

Those words of caution turn out to be very prescient in light of disturbing revelations in today’s commentary by former UK diplomat Craig Murray. His analysis casts doubt on the strength of the evidence behind UK assertions of Russian culpability. Worse still, the semantic games he exposes hark back uncomfortably to the dark days in the lead up to the disastrous Iraq invasion when intelligence was cherry-picked and manipulated in support of false allegations of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

Craig Murray writes:

I have now received confirmation from a well placed FCO [Foreign Office] source that Porton Down scientists are not able to identify the nerve gas as being of Russian manufacture, and have been resentful of the pressure being placed on them to do so.

As well as outlining in detail the word games being played to create the impression of evidence where little exists, Murray also includes “some interesting facts” which provide further background to this troubling story:

Returning again to the careful use of language to mislead the public, Murray writes:

The government has never said the nerve agent was made in Russia, or that it can only be made in Russia. The exact formulation [is] “of a type developed by Russia….Note developed, not made, produced or manufactured.

Premature judgments of Russian guilt risk further undermining the credibility of experts, multilateral organizations, and the very fabric of international relations.

For the full blog post, click: Of A Type Developed by Liars (Craig Murray, 16 March 2018).

See also: No evidence Vladimir Putin was behind the U.K. assassination (Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star, 16 March 2018.)

Photo credit: Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)

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12 Responses to “What evidence does the UK actually have that Russia is behind the nerve agent attack?”

  1. Anne StreeterMarch 19, 2018 at 6:54 am #

    Thank you Ceasefire for exposing such a serious situation – WMD all over again? Shame on Teressa May, Boris Johnson & so many others jumping to conclusions without a shred of solid information. I also include the CBC to this list – their coverage has been absolutely shameful! As for Trudeau and Freeland we can just expect more of the same!

    Thank you again Ceasefire – one of the few sane voices in the room!

  2. Christina RobertsMarch 17, 2018 at 4:19 pm #

    If possible, please correct the typo in my comment above (4.14pm), i.e. “articulately” (instead of “articulate”). Many thanks.

  3. Christina and John RobertsMarch 17, 2018 at 4:14 pm #

    Is Ceasefire in a position to organize a concerted appeal to Trudeau to seriously address (and also convey to others) our very grave concerns as outlined above? Could we urgently convey to him our deep dismay and distress in the face of the great danger facing the whole world right now, that is described or alluded to so articulately in these comments and replies?

    Could we (as parents and grandparents) urge him as Prime Minister to publicly acknowledge this danger and take a different stance and approach to the current reckless warmongering?

  4. Bonnie DenhaanMarch 17, 2018 at 2:43 pm #

    Since another Russian dissident has since been killled in Britain – albeit by a different method – there seems little doubt that there is a consistent attempt to eliminate such persons. Who else would be behind that except Putin? He has an election pending, and must maintain his strong-man position to solidify his leadership. Russian leaders keep their citizens in line by the constant threats perceived from “outside” Russia, to destabilize their hold on control. This is nothing new – it is their preferred method of manipulating their people and has been for several regimes.

    • Peter HMarch 20, 2018 at 8:50 am #

      Could not a third party be interested in the manufacture of a new cold war? Something, you must admit, does not serve Putin. You are naive if you take everything said by government on face value. They are accountable only if you make them so.

    • Jeff WhiteMarch 21, 2018 at 8:27 pm #

      Putin got over 70% of the popular vote in the election. He didn’t need to assassinate any dissidents in order to hold on to power.

  5. D AndrewsMarch 17, 2018 at 11:23 am #

    I read about Craig Murray’s article yesterday, the 15th, so I am glad that you are catching up with the news and following the demonization of Russia by Theresa May and her cohorts. Another false flag operation being carried out by one of the US’s lackeys.

  6. Dave CullMarch 17, 2018 at 1:22 am #

    Justin Trudeau carries on the tradition of his mother’s side of the family and we all should remember the sort of public nonsense that leads to.
    NOT reliable!

  7. Rolly TrenamanMarch 16, 2018 at 9:21 pm #

    I just finished watching CBC Terry Milewski interviewing Peter Mc Kay .What a exercise- disgusting . Not many brains if you put the two them together. Without having the brains to appreciate the impact of war between Russia and the West, that threatens to wipe out humanity and this is coming if we let such people dictate public opinion. This time there will no war between Germany and Russia to save Britain’s bacon.. Death will come from the skies. And I pay good tax money to keep the CBC going. Time we wipe the slate clean.

  8. PJ RobertsonMarch 16, 2018 at 6:17 pm #

    “hearken back”–No –“hark back”

  9. #NotYouTooMarch 16, 2018 at 5:49 pm #

    There is no credible evidence. For Teresa May to jump to conclusions so quickly without regard to protocols normally taken under such circumstances is irresponsible and dangerous.

    We hope that common sense will prevail and that NATO countries will demand proof of these serious accusations. It is evident that there is a concerted effort to demonize Russia and to upset the coming elections there as well as to disrupt the hosting of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. It also brings to question the validity of accusations of doping in the Peongchang Winter Olympics.

    The fact that Russia is not a banana republic and is well capable of armed retaliation in case of dire circumstance makes this tactic extremely unpredictable and wholly irresponsible.

    This lynch mob attitude is of course also playing out in Syria where the efforts to stop the rebel terrorists by Syria, Russia and Iran are constantly getting stymied by false accusations and trickery. These pernicious acts from the Americans and NATO must stop before it becomes an uncontrollably dangerous situation!

    I am deeply disturbed by the Canadian media who is jumping into this farce with both feet just like their advertisers want them to, and we can’t count on Justin Trudeau to have a voice of reason.

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