UN chemical weapons experts arrive while Tories refuse to produce evidence that Russia committed the Salisbury poisonings

Boris Johnson: Talking nonsense, as usual?

I would have been saying, “No news is good news” – if not for the fact that the Tory government is continuing to broadcast unsubstantiated claims of Russian involvement in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

The good news is that experts from the UN’s Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have arrived in the UK to examine the substance used to attack the Skripals.

We may hope that they are more effective in identifying that substance than our own people at Porton Down, who have been unwilling to support the Conservative government’s demand that Russian political leaders are behind the attack.

In the meantime, Boris Johnson’s claim that the Foreign Office has “information indicating that within the last decade, Russia has investigated ways of delivering nerve agents likely for assassination, and part of this programme has involved producing and stockpiling quantities of novichok. This is a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention” is falling apart very quickly.

As Craig Murray points out in his latest article on this subject, “within the last decade” could be any period of time between one second and ten years ago. It is entirely possible that Russia destroyed all its chemical weapons at a point in time after any such research was carried out – as the OPCW has stated. So the statement means nothing.

It would be very interesting to know the source of that information, though – as it seems Foreign Office staff were not aware of it before the weekend.

Mr Murray believes the information may have come from an unreliable source which would normally have been filtered out as untrustworthy. He says the government may have dispensed with such filters in an attempt to cobble together anything that could be accepted as plausible. After all, he says, that’s what happened with the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Mr Murray adds a reminder that the Soviet chemical weapons programme was based at Nukus in Uzbekistan – a facility that was dismantled by Americans. If anything left that site, the Americans took it, he reckons.

So why the story? Renowned journalist John Pilger had a few interesting ideas when he was interviewed by Russia Today, which the Tories are trying hard to discredit as nothing more than a propaganda channel (despite many of them having appeared on its programmes and taken its money for doing so):

The Russian government has demanded that the Tories provide proof of its involvement in the affair.

This is a significant about-turn, considering the fact that, only 10 months ago, the Russian Embassy was supporting the Tory election campaign – even echoing one of its slogans:

We know the change was caused by the Tories, even though they don’t appear to have any evidence against Russia.

The question is: Why?

Is John Pilger right?

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7 thoughts on “UN chemical weapons experts arrive while Tories refuse to produce evidence that Russia committed the Salisbury poisonings

  1. NMac

    Johnson may bluster all he likes, but he has been caught out telling so many blatant lies that I personally don’t believe a word he says.

  2. wildswimmerpete

    Russia Today’s UK bureau isn’t a bunch of rabid communists under the control of the Kremlin, they are British journalists with RT UK’s headquarters in London.

  3. bill

    Why? They are trying to jet wash a moving turd before it reaches the electoral fan. They have taken their money, they have corrupted our democracy and without a reason to denounce Russia they would be caught.

  4. Terry Davies

    Heres a plausible but not necessarily true explanation for Johnstons unexpected informative session on Marrs show. Johnston didnt prepare for this question and he panicked. True to his lack of diplomacy he blurted out the truth as he couldnt forget what hed said. This was of course not what the tories wanted for it was not supportive of the party line and in conflict with deceiving the UK population about the salisbury poisonings.
    He was dithery with following questions lacking both confidence and comittment to his responses and the session intended to focus on demeaning Corbyn was a disaster for him and the backpeddling tories facing the criticism of witholding evidence against the russians instead of a brief mention of tory reasoning or lack of reasoning for Parliament being deceived.

  5. Zippi

    Aye, that’s a good question; why? every since Trump took office this government has been gunning for Russia. I ask myself, why does everybody need Russia to be the bad guy? Why are we not trying to improve relations? Did the cold War teach us nothing? As I said, in a previous post, something doesn’t sit right with me, about this; it’s too sloppy. also, why, after 8 years? Why Yulia? I cannot believe that this government (although why anything that it does should surprise me) was so quick to point the finger of accusation. “I think” and “highly likely” aren’t good enough. The proof must be concrete and absolute; beyond doubt A hunch isn’t good enough and won’t stand up in court. As I heard from an Austrian politician(?) on the news, on Sunday; the law states that it is for your accusers to prove your guilt, not for you to prove your innocence. If there is evidence to support these accusations, where is it? If clarification was needed from the United Nations’ Chemical Weapons people, why not wait until after the investigation has been concluded before going public? It’s all very well Boris saying that this is a pattern and the way that Russia is behaving is typical but where is the evidence? Back up your claims, man! This is too sensitive an issue and too sensitive a time for such rash, clumsy and undiplomatic behaviour. The Austrian chap said that this is Cold War rhetoric and he, like most sensible, level-headed persons urges caution. As for Williamson… Russia needs to go away and shut up, is not helpful language. Present your evidence and behave like statesmen; this is serious business!

  6. Dave Llewellyn

    The reason that the UK give is that it could only have been the Russians. Only thing is Blair tried that one before and look where we ended up;. SO here is the manufacture of 5 different NOVICHOK chemicals in an Iranian University in 2016. Now in the present circumstances the government KNOW THAT so why are they lying and risking a war with a nuclear power way stronger than us.

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