Bad taste: The board game takes players through the cities allegedly visited by the GRU agents on their way to commit the Salisbury Novichok poisonings.
One would expect it to be fake news but it isn’t – a board game based on the Novichok attack in Salisbury last year is on sale in Russia.
The game, ‘Our Guys in Salisbury’, developed by manufacturer Igroland, features the cities visited by the GRU agents accused of carrying out the attack.
Players start in Moscow and pass through Minsk, Tel Aviv, Geneva, Amsterdam, London and Paris before arriving at Salisbury and the finish line, which is decorated with images of the cathedral and two figures in hazmat suits.
Elsewhere on the board is a spray bottle bearing a green skull and crossbones – an apparent reference to the perfume bottle that British police said was used to carry the Novichok nerve agent.
In another corner are illustrations resembling suspects Anatoliy Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin, who were placed under sanctions by the EU on Monday for their suspected role in the poisonings.
The Russian government denies the allegation but whether it is true or not, this game is an insult.
Even though Sergei and Yulia Skripal survived the attack, Novichok allegedly killed Amesbury resident Dawn Sturgess and poisoned Charlie Rowley and such a death should never be considered suitable material for a game.
Developer Mikhail Bober’s words ring hollow. According to The Guardian, he says it was an attempt to tell the West that its claims of Russian responsibility weren’t funny: “In some way, this was an idea of our answer to western media: enough already. To us it’s not funny any more. It’s sad. This needs to stop.
“We wanted to support our countrymen who might be offended by this situation … a lot of things are said and a lot of it without any proof.
He said: “We didn’t want to offend anyone.” Well, he has.
It is reasonable to point out that the evidence supporting the claim against Russia was tenuous – This Site has said much the same.
But contrary to Gospodin Bober’s claim, a board game about the event can be seen as glorifying the attempted murders – and will.
Rather than denying Russian responsibility, it seems to confirm it.
It is throwing fuel on the fire, rather than damping down the flames.
And I wonder whether the Russian government had a hand in it.
Does anybody doubt that the man Vladimir Putin claimed was tourist “Ruslan Boshirov” is actually Russian intelligence colonel Anatoliy Chepiga? The evidence seems conclusive to me!
But it raises question after question about both the poisonings of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley, and the UK government’s investigations into those poisonings.
If assassins were sent to the UK to poison the Skripals, why did they fail to kill their victims? I know some people have claimed that this was a ‘signature’ attack – intended to show other traitors to Russia that they can be found and harmed by the Russian government at any time, but I’m not buying it – simply because of the substance that was used. We have been told – repeatedly – that Novichok is highly toxic. But the substance used on the Skripals, and ingested by the policeman who tried to help them – was not fatal.
If the intention was to send a ‘signature’ message to Russian traitors, why were two British people also poisoned – one of them fatally? Professional assassins (or whatever you want to call them) would not have left their tools lying around, but would have disposed of them in order to leave no evidence behind. The lack of care suggested by this would indicate that it was not a professional job.
Why was a highly-decorated colonel sent to the UK to do an operation like this? Usually, a field operative with a rank no higher than captain would have carried out such work. Even Bellingcat admitted that this was unusual, quoting a source who said it indicated that the operation had been ordered at the highest level (meaning, one concludes, by Mr Putin). But then we come back to the issue of the substance used and the fact that the wrong person was killed. It doesn’t make sense.
Why did the UK government change its story so many times and why are there so many inconsistencies in it? I really want to know the answer to this. I don’t think it’s about the story altering as evidence came to light. I wonder if there is a more sinister, cynical motive behind it. Was Theresa May trying to take advantage of a tragedy to promote her own foreign policy ambitions?
Too many aspects of this case are failing to add up and it seems the result will be not only that the Russian government has set itself up as an enemy of the UK, but that the British people must now also be highly suspicious of their own government.
Here‘s the Bellingcat investigative piece on Chepiga/Boshirov:
The suspect using the cover identity of “Ruslan Boshirov” is in fact Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga, a highly decorated GRU officer bestowed with Russia’s highest state award, Hero of the Russian Federation. Following Bellingcat’s own identification, multiple sources familiar with the person and/or the investigation have confirmed the suspect’s identity.
This finding eliminates any remaining doubt that the two suspects in the Novichok poisonings were in fact Russian officers operating on a clandestine government mission.
While civilians in Russia can generally own more than one passport, no civilian – or even an intelligence service officer on a personal trip – can cross the state border under a fake identity. The discovery also highlights the extent of the effort – and public diplomacy risk – Russia has taken to protect the identities of the officers. President Putin publicly vouched that “Boshirov” and “Petrov” are civilians. As it is established practice that the awards Hero of the Russian Federation are handed out by the Russian president personally, it is highly likely that Vladimir Putin would have been familiar with the identity of Colonel Chepiga, given that only a handful of officers receive this award each year.
Wouldn’t it have been nice if Theresa May had been able to provide a statement on the Salisbury and Amesbury poisonings that we all could believe?
Undoubtedly many people will have swallowed the prime minister’s statement, naming suspects who allegedly work as Russian secret agents – but it seems many do not.
Personally, I think the problem is that there are too many inconsistencies in a story that has changed too many times – and people know this. I was going to write an analysis of these inconsistencies myself – but why not turn it over to the public instead?
What better way to make the point?
The following is part of Hansard’s transcript of Mrs May’s statement to the Commons yesterday, with accompanying comments by members of the public (and a couple from more well-known names) debunking it. I’m only going to cover the evidence provided to support her conclusion, not what she proposes to do, having made it. Let’s begin:
With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to update the House on the investigation into the attempted murder of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, and the subsequent poisoning of Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley earlier this year. This was a sickening and despicable act in which a devastatingly toxic nerve agent, known as Novichok, was used to attack our country. It left four people fighting for their lives and one innocent woman dead.
Fact – A weapons-grade nerve agent is so strong that a person dies immediately or within a few minutes. (Shaka, Twitter)
Forensic investigation has now produced sufficient evidence for the independent Director of Public Prosecutions to bring charges against two Russian nationals for the conspiracy to murder Sergei Skripal; the attempted murder of Sergei and Yulia Skripal and Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey; the use and possession of Novichok; and causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Yulia Skripal and Nick Bailey. This morning, the police set out how the two Russian nationals travelled under the names of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, names the police believe to be aliases. They arrived at Gatwick airport at 3 pm on Friday 2 March, having flown from Moscow on flight SU2588.
Daniel Sandford asked a very good question at the press conference this morning. What kind of visas did the two Russian suspects travel to Britain on? The police officer said he didn’t know. But how were the men identified?’ (Neil Clark, Twitter)
[There is also the issue of the photographs that were released by the Met Police, showing the two suspects walking through the entry channel at Gatwick, being ‘doctored’. They show both men walking through the same corridor – at exactly the same time. See Craig Murray’s article for more details including his explanation of why it is unlikely they were walking through different but identical corridors at the same second.]
They travelled by train to London Victoria, then on to Waterloo before going to the City Stay Hotel in Bow Road, east London. They stayed there on both Friday and Saturday evenings, and traces of Novichok were found in their hotel room.
I think she blew it when she said today in PMQT that traces of Novichok were found in the hotel room that they stayed in in London! (Kristina Ramsden, Facebook)
So why don’t we have dead guests who used the room after or dead cleaners?! This stinks IMO. (Vine Hill, Facebook)
On Saturday 3 March, they visited Salisbury, arriving at approximately 2.25 pm and leaving less than two hours later, at 4.10 pm. The police are confident this was for reconnaissance of the Salisbury area. On Sunday 4 March, they made the same journey, travelling by underground from Bow to Waterloo station at approximately 8.05 am, before continuing by train to Salisbury.
The police have today released CCTV footage of the two men
Interesting they’re here for under 3 days but wear diff shoes, hats, one has 2 jkts according to cctv. (Julia Jay, Twitter)
which clearly places them in the immediate vicinity of the Skripals’ house at 11.58 am, which the police say was moments before the attack.
If those two were poisoned at home and then went to a restaurant ate food passed money over staff would of served them and handled their cuttelry and pots and there would of been other diners and yet nothing no sickness nothing but the police man who found them on the park bench nearly died? (Janet Healy, Facebook)
This police reports implies both Skripals did get poisoned around 13:00 with their home single doorknob, and then got their first yet critical symptoms at exactly the same time 16:15 (+/- 2 min). This cannot be physiologically possible. Those are not the guys who hit Skripals. (Mat4Rou, Twitter)
They left Salisbury and returned to Waterloo, arriving at approximately 4.45 pm and boarded the underground at approximately 6.30 pm to Heathrow, from where they returned to Moscow on flight SU2585, departing at 10.30 pm.
This hard evidence has enabled the independent Crown Prosecution Service to conclude it has a sufficient basis on which to bring charges against these two men for the attack in Salisbury. The same two men are now also the prime suspects in the case of Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley, too. There is no other line of inquiry beyond this. The police have today formally linked the attack on the Skripals and the events in Amesbury such that it now forms one investigation.
If they were hit men they’d have surely killed. Its thrown up more unanswered questions. (Sharon, Twitter)
Our own analysis, together with yesterday’s report from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, has confirmed that the exact same chemical nerve agent was used in both cases.
Well it was surpose to be a gel on the front door but it’s a perfume bottle spray for the other 2 you can’t spray gel out of a perfume bottle. (Tiddles Denise Mclean, Facebook)
How can two samples of a toxin taken a couple of months apart be 100% identified as being the one and same used in both incidents? I ask this as the Government themselves claimed at the time that whilst being a very dangerous toxin its rate of degrading would pose no threat within hours to others. Stinks of a security services cover up again to give credence to the original attack claims. (Mark Bennett, Facebook)
With such purported evidence-based certainty, it does make you wonder why Boris Johnson deemed it necessary to make inaccurate statements about Porton Down scientists’ reports which destroyed his government’s credibility in the first instance. (Samson, Twitter)
There is no evidence to suggest that Dawn and Charlie may have been deliberately targeted, but rather they were victims of the reckless disposal of this agent.
Polis combed that park at the time, then after everyone had given up roasting their bullshit a couple a patsy junkies turn up with a bottle of Novichock they happened upon in the park. Totally legit sounding! (Botty McBotface, Twitter)
Yep, we have to believe the bottle carrying the chemical lay for several months in a street bin that was never emptied. (GerryBoyce, Twitter)
The police have today released further details of the small glass counterfeit perfume bottle and box discovered in Charlie Rowley’s house which was found to contain this nerve agent.
They say they found the bottle on a kitchen table, yet Charlie told his brother the bottle splintered in his hand. (Norma Ballingall, Facebook)
How can the police search the house on 10th July – and then find a bottle on a kitchen worktop on 11th July… “Well, I didn’t see that…” (Liam Hennesce, Twitter)
Particularly when what they were searching for was a small bottle of liquid. (Craig Murray, Twitter)
The manner in which the bottle was modified leaves no doubt it was a cover for smuggling the weapon into the country and for the delivery method for the attack against the Skripals’ front door.
Were they in full protective gear when the smeared the front door and if not why are they not dead? (Patrick Mahony, Facebook)
The police investigation into the poisoning of Dawn and Charlie is ongoing, and the police are today appealing for further information. But were these two suspects within our jurisdiction there would be a clear basis in law for their arrest for murder.
I can today tell the House that, based on a body of intelligence, the Government have concluded that the two individuals named by the police and CPS are officers from the Russian military intelligence service, also known as the GRU. The GRU is a highly disciplined organisation with a well-established chain of command, so this was not a rogue operation. It was almost certainly also approved outside the GRU at a senior level of the Russian state.
Having read the official release stating doubt that the names used were their real names, then the belief they are linked to the GRU seems to be lacking evidence. (John Beilby, Facebook)
I did a search of their names, apart from a Russian Actor and a sportsman, nothing, that is after I scrolled past a million me too news articles, but…. I did find several links to Gay Porn actors with said names en route. (Mark Savai, Facebook)
What conclusion does the public draw? This:
Two TOP Russian operatives whose faces we know, but not their names, Failed to kill the target, contaminated their hotel room, and disposed of the bottle casually. My sources say they had a hand in planning 9/11. (SpoilPartyGames, Twitter)
Aaand these highly trained TOP “Russian agents” go about losing “novichok” everywhere, from door handles to bushes in a bottle and hotel rooms. That they’re alive at all is supposedly testimony to their expert handling. (Entelekheia, Twitter)
Now you know what other members of the public think.
Contaminated: Investigators examine the park bench in Salisbury where Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found after they were poisoned.
Without further information to corroborate this, it is just a wild claim – but still enough to create another doubt about the UK government’s story.
If a Swiss laboratory really did find that BZ was used against Sergei and Yulia Skripal, I would like to know how it got hold of the samples, how it knew they were authentic, and what authority it had to test them.
The claim is still hugely damaging for the UK government’s position because – unlike that of Theresa May and her ministers – it does not contradict anything else the Russians have suggested; they have always denied having any part in the poisoning and this is their first theory about the nature of the toxin.
Of course the UK government and the media will try to rubbish the claim.
But with no credible story of their own, who are we to believe?
Russia claims the substance used to poison double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia was an agent called BZ that has been used by Nato states including the UK and US.
It was the Kremlin’s latest denial that the pair were targeted with a Novichok nerve agent developed by the Soviet military and latest attempt to discredit the findings of independent chemical weapons experts.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claims a Swiss lab found that a BZ agent was used against the Skripals.
He said the toxin was never produced in Russia, but was “in service” in the UK, US and other Nato states, state media reported.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) found that “high purity” Novichok was used in the attempted murder.
Contaminated: Investigators examine the park bench in Salisbury where Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found after they were poisoned.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has not accepted the UK’s claim that Russia was behind the alleged nerve agent attack against Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury last month.
The UN inspectors’ report stated, “The results of the analysis by the OPCW designated laboratories of environmental and biomedical samples collected by the OPCW team confirms the findings of the United Kingdom relating to the identity of the toxic chemical that was used in Salisbury and severely injured three people.”
It doesn’t actually name the chemical, although the UK has firmly stated that it was a Novichok nerve agent. The classified (non-public) version of the OPCW report gives its chemical composition – a “complex” formula, according to The Guardian.
This is odd, as Cornell University professor David Collum has stated, “The compounds are simple as hell to make. Doing so without killing yourself would be more challenging but within the capabilities of many laboratories.”
So we now know that the chemical used against the Skripals was both simple and complicated. That’s helpful!
And what of the claim that it could only have been created by the Russian government? Boris Johnson has leapt in to claim (again) that the OPCW report confirms this: “There can be no doubt what was used and there remains no alternative explanation about who was responsible – only has the means, motive and record.”
There’s only one problem: The OPCW report actually corroborates what chemical experts at Porton Down said – neither report even attempts to identify the origin of the nerve agent.
So we now know that the chemical used against the Skripals could have been manufactured by the Russian government or in many other laboratories. That’s helpful too!
Or rather, it isn’t.
And what makes it worse is the jabbering of a warmongering racist like Boris Johnson, pumping up international tensions with Russia on the basis of nothing but his own hot air.
There is no evidence to prove that the Russian government created the nerve agent that attacked Sergei and Yulia Skripal.
And now we know, based on the evidence of Porton Down and the OPCW, there never will be.
There certainly is not enough information to take us into conflict with that country.
This Writer would still like to know how the Skripals were treated and whether this treatment corresponds with known remedies for nerve agent attack. Let’s say I want to know for my own peace of mind.
The only other possible way of finding out the origin of the nerve agent is if investigators track down the people responsible for the alleged attack.
My concern about that is the fact that the UK’s Tory government leapt to the conclusion that Russia was responsible so quickly that all other options were ignored – and this may have prejudiced investigations beyond repair.
What is the current situation with regard to this part of the story?
Does anybody know?
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Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia: It is more likely that they would recover from eating dodgy porridge than from a deadly nerve agent.
The theories about the Salisbury poisoning are getting wilder and wilder – or are they?
When the story first broke about former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia having been poisoned, a commenter to This Site suggested the following:
As soon as I heard about this case, the symptoms immediately made me think of botulism food poisoning. A good friend nearly died from botulism from tinned tuna, becoming ill nearly 48 hrs after eating it. She was in a coma for a week. Its a very serious, often fatal poisoning, and is non-infectious, and the botulism toxin disrupts nerve function.
The cereal brought to Mr Skripal contained buckwheat, we are told, and I understand buckwheat honey is capable of carrying botulism. Whether that translates to this foodstuff, I am not qualified to speculate.
Signs and symptoms of foodborne botulism include:
Difficulty swallowing or speaking.
Facial weakness on both sides of the face.
Blurred or double vision.
Nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps.
There is certainly a similarity to the symptoms claimed of Novichok nerve agents. But is it close enough?
If it is food poisoning, what does this tell us about everything we’ve been told so far?
The authorities have told us that the poison was concentrated on the Skripals’ front door – and I’m not familiar with any Russian custom that involves smearing porridge on the entrance to one’s home.
And how could it get to the restaurant in the centre of Salisbury, or the park bench where father and daughter were found?
Come to that, how could DS Nick Bailey have been poisoned with a substance he can’t possibly have ingested?
As the stories get wilder, they are becoming harder to believe.
We’re told the woman who brought the cereal has been questioned by police, in a bid to find the alleged assassins.
That seems to be fantasy of the silliest kind. Logic suggests that – if it was food poisoning from a cereal – it was accidental, not intentional.
But Theresa May and her government leapt to accuse Russia without considering all the possibilities or consequences, and they can’t back down without being shown up as the fools they are.
Police probing the poisoning of ex-Russian agent Sergei Skripal have questioned a woman who brought him his favourite porridge from Moscow, according to new claims.
The sixty-six year old and his daughter, 33, were rushed to hospital last month after being found slumped on a bench in Salisbury in the southern English county of Wiltshire.
Almost a month later, the ex-Russian spy remains in a critical condition – but his daughter Yulia is said to be improving and conscious talking to investigators.
It is hoped she will now be able to help police clarify how the pair were poisoned and nail the assassins.
Last night it was claimed detectives have interviewed another Russian woman who brought ‘gifts’ to Sergei Skripal just before the poisoning.
Yulia had been planing to bring a bag of her father’s favourite breakfast meal of buckwheat as well as spices and bay leaves, the Sun on Sunday reports.
But she ran out of time before leaving and asked the unnamed woman to bring it instead.
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