The Official Narrative on the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal is a collection of illogical claims and assertions that cannot be made to fit together, that make no rational sense, and which would require us to hold a mass of contradictory thoughts in our head if we were to accept it. It is in short a conspiracy theory, and a particularly bad one at that.
As I have pointed out before, I am not attempting to counter this conspiracy theory with one of my own. I make no claims to know what happened in the Skripal incident. I am merely stating that the story that the UK Government and media have so far asked the public to believe cannot be true, since it is full of discrepancies and claims that are impossible to reconcile with the known facts.
They are, of course, welcome at any time to show how those contradictions and improbable assertions can be reconciled, but until such time as they advance a compelling and coherent explanation, rational and objective observers shall just have to assume that these contradictions exist for a reason – namely that the official narrative of what happened in the Skripal case is not in fact what really happened in the Skripal case.
So what exactly are those contradictory elements and improbable assertions in the Official Narrative, which place it firmly in the territory of a Very Bad Conspiracy Theory? There are many, but below are 10 of the most obvious:
1. A lethal nerve agent followed by a drink and a meal
The Official Narrative requires you to believe not only that Sergei and Yulia Skripal were poisoned by the military grade nerve agent A-234, a substance which is said to be 5-8 ten times the toxicity of VX nerve agent (which itself has a median lethal dose of 10mg), and the effects of which are said to take place within 30 seconds to two minutes.
…But also that after coming into contact with this substance, they then spent the next four hours wining and dining in the City of Salisbury.
2. A deadly nerve agent without antidote, but where everyone is fine
The Official Narrative requires you not only to believe that Mr and Miss Skripal were poisoned by a deadly nerve agent with no known antidote (according to Gary Aitkenhead, Chief Executive of Porton Down), and for which treatment is "practically impossible”, according to The Handbook of Toxicology of Chemical Warfare Agents.
…But also that just a few weeks later, both were fine and one of them at least was fit to be discharged from hospital.
3. Symptoms that don’t match those produced by the substance allegedly used
The Official Narrative requires you to believe that the Skripals were poisoned by a substance which produces the following symptoms:
"Acetylcholine concentrations then increase at neuromuscular junctions to cause involuntary contraction of all skeletal muscles. This then leads to respiratory and cardiac arrest (as the victim’s heart and diaphragm muscles no longer function normally) and finally death from heart failure or suffocation as copious fluid secretions fill the victim’s lungs.”
…Yet according to witnesses at the bench in The Maltings, Mr Skripal was making "strange hand movements”, "looking up to the sky” and "looking out of it” – symptoms which strongly suggest poisoning by a hallucinogenic, such as BZ or Fentanyl, and not A-234, which tends to produce death, rather than hallucinations.
4. That Salisbury District Hospital mistook the symptoms of military grade nerve agent for opioid poisoning
The Official Narrative requires you to believe that the Skripals were the victims of poisoning by a lethal nerve agent, which produces the symptoms mentioned above, including "involuntary contraction of all skeletal muscles”, "respiratory and cardiac arrest” and "finally death from heart failure or suffocation.”
…Yet it also requires you to believe that Salisbury District Hospital completely mistook the symptoms of nerve agent poisoning for opioid poisoning — even though the symptoms are very different — since on the following day a press release was issued stating that they were treating the pair for exposure to Fentanyl:
(This, by the way, is extremely interesting. The screen shot above is the original report on the website of Clinical Services Journal, and it can now be found on the website, web.archive.org. The original piece, however, has since been updated on the Clinical Services Journal, not with a correction, but with the reference to Fentanyl being removed altogether (compare here with here h/t Dilyana Gaytandzhiev)
5. A lethal nerve agent that can be dealt with by water and baby wipes
The Official Narrative requires you not only to believe that the substance which poisoned the Skripals is so deadly that Mr Skripal’s house may need to be demolished and a multi-million pound clean-up of Salisbury with chaps in HazMats a necessity.
…But that the same substance can be treated with warm water, soap and baby wipes, as evidenced by the advice given by Public Health England (PHE) a week after the incident, to anyone who may have come into contact with it:
"Wash the clothing that you were wearing in an ordinary washing machine using your regular detergent at the temperature recommended for the clothing. Wipe personal items such as phones, handbags and other electronic items with cleansing or baby wipes and dispose of the wipes in the bin (ordinary domestic waste disposal)… Other items such as jewellery and spectacles which cannot go in the washing machine or be cleaned with cleansing or baby wipes, should be hand washed with warm water and detergent and then rinsed with clean cold water. Please thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water after cleaning any items.”
6. The nerve agent went undetected on a door handle for weeks
The Official Narrative requires you not only to believe that the assassins poured "military grade nerve agent”, in liquid form, on the handle of Mr Skripal’s front door, and that the British Government had possession of an FSB "assassin’s handbook” detailing this procedure.
…But that despite apparently having this handbook, the door handle theory was only mentioned more than three weeks after the incident, during which time many people (such as the unsuspecting policewoman at the top of this piece), came within a few feet of a door apparently smeared with lethal nerve agent, with no protective clothing, and suffered no ill effects.
7. The highly volatile nerve agent that was still highly pure weeks later
The Official Narrative requires you not only to believe that the substance examined in blood and environmental samples by the OPCW, weeks after the incident was:
"…of high purity. The latter is concluded from the almost complete absence of impurities.”
…But also that the substance used is known to be both unstable and vulnerable to water – and Salisbury definitely had plenteous rain and even snow between the incident and the coming of the OPCW!
8. That the substance used is proof of Russian state culpability
The Official Narrative requires you to believe that because the substance allegedly used was first developed in Russia (actually Soviet Union), there are only two explanations for the poisoning:
- It was an act of the Russian state
- That the Russian state lost control of its stocks
…Yet it requires you to believe this in the full knowledge that not only have other countries produced it (the United States has been patenting "Novichok” products for years; Iran produced it in 2016; and the United Kingdom possesses samples of it), but according to the chairman of the OPCW, Ahmet Uzumcu, A-234 could be produced:
"…in any country where there would be some chemical expertise.”
9. That the movements of Detective Sergeant Bailey on 4th March cannot be officially confirmed
The Official Narrative requires you to believe not only that Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, who is a member of Wiltshire Criminal Intelligence Department (CID), was poisoned with the same substance as the Skripals.
…But that his movements cannot be established, since it has still not been officially confirmed whether he was at the bench in The Maltings or at Mr Skripal’s house (and in point of fact, either scenario is remarkably odd, since D.S. Bailey is a member of CID, and there was no suggestion until at least 24 hours after the incident that a crime may have been committed).
10. The cleansing of Salisbury hotspots, but not all Salisbury hotspots
The Official Narrative requires you to believe not only that there are parts of Salisbury that may be contaminated with a lethal substance, and that this will require a clean up operation involving thousands of man hours, costing millions, and taking months to complete.
…But that some of these areas were no danger to the public for a month-and-a-half, when they were cordoned off with nothing more than police tape. In addition, some of the areas that the Skripals were known to have walked down after apparently coming into contact with the substance, such as the Market Walk, have been free to the public to walk through since the start of the incident and remain completely open (I know this personally, because as a Salisbury resident, I have walked through the Market Walk in the last few days).
Put all these things together — and this is not to even mention the current condition and whereabouts of the Skripals — and what you have is a theory in which claims are flatly contradicted by basic facts, many so-called facts are simply not facts at all, and assertions are made without any recourse to the reality on the ground. It is abundantly clear that the Official Narrative not only did not happen; it cannot have happened. As things stand it is "highly likely” that what we have been told is a conspiracy theory of "high purity”, "of a type developed by Whitehall.”