I’m fairly doubtful about the official narrative concerning the poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury in 2018. The main points for me which cast doubt on the official story are:
the rather unlikely idea that both Skripals (of different weights) touched the doorknob and then waltzed about town for a few hours before suddenly and immediately both falling ill at exactly the same time
the connections between Skripal, ex MI6 agent Pablo Miller, a private security company in which Miller and ex MI6 agent Christopher Steele were involved and the fake smear dossier on Trump produced by Steele for money. These connections – the fact of which was suppressed by UK gov via a D-notice – seem to bear further investigation. Was Skripal a source? Was he contacting his sources in Russia to help Steele get dirt on Trump?
the official narrative of the movements of the two Russians Petrov and Boshirov in Salisbury seems rather pat – and to leave some parts unexplained.
Incidentally I have no doubt at all that Petrov and Boshirov were lying when then claimed their trip to Salisbury was because they had a sudden urge to visit the Cathedral. Obviously. Nonetheless I think that the official British government narrative looks fishy.
It is interesting that today a new story has been released that claims to link Petrov and Boshirov to a 2014 explosion in an arms warehouse in the Czech Republic. The authors of the story in the Guardian are Luke Harding and Dan Sabbagh. This could all be true. It is claimed that the warehouse was supplying arms to Ukraine – and that (if true) might explain why a Russian military intelligence outfit would see it as a legitimate target. But I’m struck by this paragraph:
According to Czech media, detectives investigating the explosion initially assumed it was a tragic accident. Two men working at the depot – Vratislav Havránek and Luděk Petřík – died instantly when 50 tonnes of ammunition blew up. Last year, however, investigators from Prague’s counter-intelligence service and the national centre against organised crime received new information. They discovered Mishkin and Chepiga – using the Petrov and Boshirov passports – had been in the country when the explosion took place.
The explosion happened in 2014. The Skirpals were poisoned in March 2018. After the Skripals were poisoned the British government published passport photographs of Petrov and Boshirov. One would surely imagine that they would have shared the passport details with their colleagues across Europe. One would surely have assumed that all Western intelligence agencies would immediately have scanned the flight databases, immigration databases – and other sources – and identified the two, who we are told used the same passports as in 2018. But it has taken the Czech authorities another 3 years to make the connection. I don’t find that very plausible.
Note Rabb’s comment: “This shows a pattern of behaviour by Moscow, following the novichok attack in Salisbury,”. But, hang on; this claim by the Czech authorities relates to an event in 2014. So it is not following the Salisbury “novichok attack” at all. In fact it predates it by 4 years. Why has Raab make this mistake?
One possibility; the story is true. Petrov and Boshirov were in the Czech republic in 2014 and can be linked to this explosion. However the hazy details in which Harding claims “Last year investigators… received new information” are not. Czech authorities knew about this soon after the 2018 discovery and exposé of the Petrov and Boshirov passports, but they have sat on it until now. And today it is being released for political purposes – now is the time, just after Biden has issued yet more sanctions against Russia, and just as Kiev is trying to ramp up pressure on Russia over Donbass to max out the pressure on Russia. This theory would also explain why Raab (who will be in on this) makes that ‘little’ slip of thinking that the 2014 explosion happened after the 2018 Skripal poisoning.
At any rate I have no doubt that the West (in particular the UK) uses these events in a purely political game. Another example would be the Litvinenko episode. When he was assassinated in 2006 the British government gave only a very muted response. It was only after the 2014 coup in Ukraine and the secession of Crimea that a public inquiry was held which very publicly held Russia responsible.