The first ploy was to tell the public (and possibly Britain’s allies) a lie. Porton Down had indentified the substance used as coming from Russia.
That was exposed as a lie.
What has happened since is exactly what we would expect from Britain’s intelligence services. They have leaked a series of claims to the press.
The leaks (better understood as planted information) concern this persistent claim about a Russian training manual mentioning smearing nerve agents on doors and the claim about a message being sent from Syria to Moscow about “the package has been delivered” and “two agents have made their egress”. (With reference to the latter Craig Murray suggests this is probably just a sexed up translation of “left”).
That is – they are scraping through their records to find anything, no matter what, which can be used to prop up the government line. This – information management – is a primary function of the intelligence services. This is what they do.
No doubt there was some kind of an intercept (by all accounts of an unencrypted communication) from Syria. No doubt there is some document which can somehow be described as a “training manual” and there are some grounds which permit it to be said that it dates from post-Soviet times (which is what they are claiming). But all this is just the usual titbits – without the details including the source of the alleged ‘training manual’ no one can independently come to any conclusion at all.
All this doesn’t stop the eager press from playing its part. For example, today’s Daily Telegraph has the headline: “Russia hacked Yulia Skripal’s emails for five years and tested Novichok on door handles, bombshell intelligence dossier reveals”. There is nothing “bombshell” about this. As we say above this is routine and the intelligence services are just doing their bit to prop up a government story. – As for the story about Russian intelligence carrying out surveillance into Julia Skripal’s emails – we would expect them to be doing exactly that. If a British spy defected to Moscow and his daughter continued to work in London MI6 would not be hacking her emails? Come on. What is going on here is little titbits of ‘information’ are being released as part of a studied news management campaign to prop up a failing story.
MI6 is doing what we would expect from them. Telling lies (or at least planting massaged information) to prop up whatever the government wants them to prop up.
But it is lamentable to see the “free press” quite so eagerly doing their bidding. We can note the Telegraph breathlessly says “it has been revealed” and “it has emerged”. The “journalist” will get some kind of a payback for further dressing up MI6’s planted stories. But it has zero to do with journalism.