John Chuckman




“Putin tightens grip on power”


God, The Independent is packed with garbage about Russia today. It resembles an all-out propaganda assault.

Putin remains extremely popular, and greatly admired, in Russia, and he is about to be reelected.

It is hard to see that as “tightens his grip on power,” unless you are in the habit of using words with little sense of meaning.

He will be reelected, and with a majority any British or American politician can only envy, regardless of the clownish efforts of Theresa May and Boris Johnson and the British corporate press, very much including The Independent and The Guardian.

Your big spread on the chemical agent, Novichok, a nerve agent indeed first created by Russians, is loaded with innuendo and you have permitted no comment there.

Here are some fundamental facts about this material, whose very presence in Salisbury is the only known evidence for accusing Russia of attempted murder.

It exists in several jurisdictions in the world, very much including some former Soviet Republics, and notably Ukraine.

It is not some totally unique substance either. Several such binary nerve agents exist, including a comparable one stocked heavily by Americans called Sarin.

Apparently, a formula for the Russian-discovered Novichok was actually published in a book, a book published by a Russian dissident scientist Vil Mirzayanov, about ten years ago.

Experts have told us that any competent large chemical laboratory can synthesize the stuff. It is not truly exotic science.

Apparently when Britain’s own chemical weapons experts at Porton Down, a big facility just miles from Salisbury, were asked to confirm that the chemical was of Russian manufacture, they declined to do so.

Their verbal formulation is “of a type developed by Russia” – the exact weasel words used.

So, on the basis of such “evidence,” the Prime Minister runs around much like a chicken missing her head and Britain’s Foreign Minister, the ever-erratic and often buffoonish, Boris Johnson, publicly charges Russia’s President with murder.

It’s astonishing and unacceptable to any thinking and informed person for international affairs to be subjected to such an earthquake on the basis of these extremely foolish people Britain has in charge of government.

I say “foolish” but what I really mean is “dishonest.”

The world is seeing a Conservative government repeat the utterly shabby behavior it saw from the Labour government of much-detested Tony Blair in the run-up to the Iraq invasion with his phony dossier and the mysterious death of weapons expert, Doctor Kelly.

Of course, this all really just reflects American pressure and an effort to throw still more mud at Russia, to influence Russia’s election, and perhaps to upset Russia’s FIFA World Cup events.

Americans have done badly in their dark and murderous efforts in both Syria and Ukraine. A great chess player has them in a place they very much do not like being. After all, this is America, the most powerful nation of all time declaring what it wants to happen. How dare a place like Russia thwart its will to run everything and everyone?

Just terrible and irresponsible.

It is interesting, too, that Europeans have been left to lead the charge this time. Trump gives vague statements of support, but so far, we’ve not heard anything like Boris Johnson’s libelous and shameful accusations, and we all know Trump is not a man to shy away from blubbering libelous and shameful accusations. He makes them all the time.

This brings to mind that one extraordinary question journalist Megyn Kelly put to President Putin, about why he thinks Trump is always so deferential towards him. That question holds the captivating suggestion that Putin has embarrassing information about Trump, information which he quietly holds in reserve. I doubt it would have anything at all to do with the idiotic stuff about Russian-Trump relationships, but it would be some damning personal stuff, perhaps along the lines of Trump’s now-publicized affair with a porn star not long after he was married. Perhaps worse.

AFTERWARD: There’s actually more to add, since Iran, under international supervision, a while ago demonstrated it is possible to synthesize Novichoks from commercially available chemicals.



New facts and important considerations related to the supposed attack in Britain with the nerve agent, Novichok, appear regularly. I append some here.

A Russian scientist, expert in these matters, made some excellent points. He said it is not possible to positively identify such a material without possessing samples. So, Britain’s Porton Down facility must possess samples. He said further that the very fact that the alleged victims have not died is proof that the antidote was administered to them. Who did that? And under what circumstances?

I saw another interesting anecdote, from a British person, in the comments to a story on the Internet. He said that during an event with which he was familiar, an anthrax-attack scare, the entire district was immediately closed down and evacuated by authorities. It does seem rather mysterious that the same measures would not have immediately been taken in Salisbury.

At this writing, the British government has still not supplied a scrap of evidence to Russia despite requests. That must strike any fair-minded person as extremely odd. After all, the supposed victim was a Russian national, and his government has every right to such information. The Russians certainly are entitled to view the matter as a terrorist attack in which the British government refuses to share information.

Of course, the timing of this entire affair is very suspicious. It follows serious threats of an American attack against Syrian troops in the Damascus area. Russia responded in unusually blunt language to this threat. The head of Russia’s armed faces told the Americans that any attacks in areas where Russian troops and personnel were working would result in not only in the attacking missiles being targeted but also whatever source, as a ship, from which they were launched. The attack appears to have been stopped, but this intense noise of unsupported accusations in Britain seems part of a further response, part of American discontent at not being to do as it pleases.


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