Skripal: origin of the novichok nerve agent unknown

Skripal: origin of the nowichok nerve agent unknown

British military lab claims to have identified only nerve agent, british government points to broader basis, russia demands apology

The finding of the military laboratory in porton down is an embarrassment for the british government, especially before the opcw meeting. But the same is true for the other countries, such as germany, whose governments, based on mere allegations by theresa may, have not made their "unrestricted solidarity" had declared. The british government had initially spoken of high probability that russia was behind the poison attack on double agent skripal and his daughter. Then this was claimed as a certainty.

The basis was simply that the military laboratory interpreted the found samples as novichok, a group of very dangerous chemical warfare agents, which are said to have been first developed in russia. The government claimed that only russia had developed them, arguing only on supposedly plausible cui bono grounds that one may or may not follow. The main argument, after all, as a government handout indicates, was this: "without a shadow of a doubt, russia is responsible for us. No country but russia has the combined capacity, intent and motive. There is no plausible alternative explanation."

This has been willingly swallowed by the other governments, which have backed the british government for different interests. It was about transatlantic and european unity, about brexit and the threat of trade wars, and about how much easier it is to squeeze together when you have a vicious enemy who can be blamed for everything that goes wrong: the "russian aggression", the "russian interference operations" or the "hybrid warfare" of the russians became commonplaces.

The initial argument to point at russia should be the analysis of the military laboratory. This, however, made clear the shaky basis on which the blame can be apportioned. Gary aitkenhead, head of the defence science and technology laboratory (dstl) in porton down, told skynews that the nerve agent belonging to the group of novichok agents had been identified. It is "probably", that it was produced by a state, but one could not say where it came from: "we have not identified the precise source, but we have given the government the scientific information, which then, with a number of other sources, have put together the conclusions to come to."

The laboratory, aitkenhead said, had no business determining where the nerve agent came from. This requires other "inputs", about the secret services. One can only say that with "extremely sophisticated process" was produced, which points to a state actor. Aitkenhead did not answer whether the laboratory itself was developing or had in its possession any nowichok agents; in any case, it did not come from the laboratory: "there is no possibility that something like this could have come from us or left the four walls of the laboratory."

As a result, the british government had to backtrack. A spokesman for the auben ministry said that the government continues to believe that russia is behind the attack, which is supported by a broader "intelligence picture". The identification of the substance as nowitschok is "only a part" of the image. Zu dem gehore, dass russland moglichkeiten untersucht hat, anwendungsmoglichkeiten fur nervengifte "probably for attacks" to investigate that part of the program was the production and storage of novichok. If this is true, it was not a russian program, but one of the soviet union.

The spokesman went on to say that the picture also includes carrying out state-sponsored attacks (which, admittedly, have also been practiced by the u.S. And are now part of the everyday business of british and american drones). He added that russia considered former intelligence officers as targets. For these reasons, the british government sees russia as responsible for this "reckless act" as responsible in and there is "no other plausible explanation, which is also the view of the international community".

However, the british minister for foreign affairs boris johnsohn was unmasked. He had responded two weeks ago to a question about how the government found out so quickly that the novichok came from russia: "’when i look at the evidence of the people of porton down, the laboratory, they were very determined. I asked the man himself: ‘are you sure??’ and he said, ‘there is no doubt in my mind.’ therefore, we have little alternative but to choose the action we have carried out." at the time, he also lamented that russia was unwilling to help clear up the matter, but also made it clear that they did not want to give russia samples. Russia’s attitude was "increasingly bizarre". The british government could now also be accused of this.

The russian embassy is vindicated by aitkenhead’s rearances. "We have said from the beginning that the british government’s claims that the nerve agent was produced in russia was just a bluff", it says. It is also noted that aitkenhead did not explicitly deny that the lab had developed or stored novichok agents. Moreover, russian ambassador alexander yakovenko complained that the british government refused consular access to information about the attack on the skripals and the death of nikolay glushkov. All three were russian state burgers.

In the meantime, russian president putin has intervened for the first time. He said yesterday in turkey, where he visited his friend erdogan on the occasion of the start of construction of a russian nuclear power plant, that according to international experts, the nerve agent could be produced in 20 countries: "we are interested in a full investigation. We want to be granted access to this investigation and hope to receive relevant materials, because this is about russian burgers. As you know, the russian investigative committee has initiated criminal proceedings."

Kremlin spokesman dmitry peskov immediately demanded an apology from the british government. The "idiocy" had gone too far. The accusations against russia are "is based on nothing", he said.

Julia skripal, the daughter of the double agent, has regained consciousness days ago. The russian embassy is demanding access to it. So far, the british government does not seem to have made a decision yet. The daughter was able to give important clues to the attack, an intra-family conflict was also already launched, so that possibly not the father, but she herself could have been the target.

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