Deadly Novichok dose 'came from bottle' in victim's house


I want the inside story from @anon30760835


Let’s all be like cations and stay positive…

No security
through obscurity, perhaps
even more so now.


Here’s hoping the surviving victim can describe where they got the bottle… could help unravel the previous poisoning circumstances.


icy what you did there


We have good people inside the Pottsylvanian bioweapons facilities, we know who did this.



It’s nice that most of the reporting on this hasn’t felt the need to lead with how the victims were homeless / homeless-adjacent. It’s plausible that one of them picked this bottle up off the street, thinking it might be poppers or GHB or something, and maybe ingested the contents on purpose. Or, you know, maybe they just picked it up because they saw an interesting little bottle. People sometimes do slightly odd stuff like that when they don’t think the international news media are watching.

It would be extremely satisfying if this led to actually finding the person who did it, and even more so if they turned out to be an indisputable Russian agent.


Fluorocarbons are pretty non-reactive, in the absence of light at least as energetic as UV.


In which case I wonder if there are any interesting fingerprints on the bottle. If is is absolutely clean, other than the two latest victims, then that would be telling as well.


long as it’s not a bottle of eau sauvage by christian dior
presume it’s even a smaller item …like a 2 ounce item


In the UK, people are pretty skeptical about these Novichok stories due to 1) the instant finger pointing at the key official enemy, 2) sketchy storytelling, 3) lack of evidence, 4) official lies (Boris Johnson) and finally 5) press censorship, which erases the whole affair from public consciousness.

Personally, it looks like something else - Porton Down accident, rogue agent, Russian mob, etc – has simply been folded into NATO’s campaign to demonise and isolate Russia. I feel a duty to resist stories designed to manufacture consent for war

From 4 days ago: John Cleese explains the state of the media on BBC (it’s fun. Angry fun)


I was talking with my sister who has lived in Moscow for the last 30 years, and seen the modern Russia happen. Right now Russia is hosting the World Cup, which is something they have wanted to do to show the world they are not all bogies from James Bond films. No-one would claim Putin is a little fluffy bunny, but he is popular. But, if you want to believe it is the Russians…

The KGB were good at what they did. If they wanted you dead, there is a good chance you would end up dead. They would not have botched the attack on Serge Skripal. and particularly not in the run-up to the World Cup. They would not have left a bottle behind.

Serge Skripal had been under detention in Russia at some point. He could have died in prison from peritonitis following an undiagnosed appendicitis before anyone outside Russia had heard of him. Much neater.

So, someone did the first attack. Then we have a second death while the World Cup is still on. Do we think the KGB forgot to take back the bottle? Not their style. Nor is leaving the initiative to a field agent their style. Or whoever did it had a bit of the stuff over and wanted to have another death while the World Cup was still on? Or something else?

From the evidence I see, blaming Russia makes no sense. The search for another rogue state that may have done this is left as an exercise for the reader.


Generalise much? I’m in UK and I’m not that sceptical. Not that I would be surprised if it turned out to be some attempt by someone to ‘frame’ Russian, but at present I severely doubt that, and the ‘on the face of it’ explanation seems very much more than plausible.

Yeah, so they left a trail of polonium all the way from London to Moscow when Litvinenko was poisoned. And IIRC the key suspects for that were not exactly covert KGB agents.

I suspect these incidents could just as easily both be informal ‘sub-contracting’ (“who will rid me of this troublesome whatever…”) to enable later deniability/distancing. I admit the USSR demise left many dangerous places unguarded and unaudited, so who knows how these substances escaped into the wild, if indeed they did.


Do you believe that the nerve agent used against Skripal didn’t have its origins in Russia? That was the sum total of the joke, made at the expense of those bending over backwards to claim no Russian involvement.

As to who did it, it’s not clear beyond the fact that Russians (not “the Russians” but Russians) were involved somehow, the nerve agent being the primary evidence in that regard.* From all the bungling and clumsiness the most plausible scenario is sub-contractors who didn’t understand the use and power of the poison they were given to use on Skripal.

As to who gave it to them, it could be anyone who wanted to curry favour with Putin by killing or maiming one of his enemies abroad: perhaps a rogue element in the FSB or GRU, perhaps a mafiya clan, perhaps an oligarch with military connections.

As shoddy a job as it was, I’m sure Putin is pleased with the outcome. Despite his popularity amongst Russia’s equivalent of America’s Know-Nothing 27% he’s still an ex-KGB spook with a gangster mentality. The occasional demonstration that none of his enemies are safe inside or outside the country is a useful one for him whether he ordered it directly (unlikely) or not; either way I agree that Russia’s autocrat “not a fluffy bunny”, to put it mildly.

[* unless one is a useful idiot or someone playing one on the Internet]

Of course the best way to accomplish that was to make a deal with Sepp Bladder’s FIFA back in 2010. [/snort]


I think we in the UK ought not to believe what our Murdoch press and our current politicians are telling us.

Novichok is a family of nerve toxins that were originally developed in Russia. There are several bodies outside Russia that are known to have the knowledge to make it. It is a pure chemical that was used in tiny amounts, so it is very unlikely to carry any chemical evidence of its country of origin (which is what Boris Johnson first claimed, and then modified to ‘secret spy information’). The idea that there is some rogue cell of Soviet agents fighting on like Japanese soldiers long after the war ended does have some merit: they might have the stuff, and they might use it against someone who betrayed their organization. The dirty work was often done be Bulgarians or Czechs, and not Russians. It seems a bit far-fetched.

I don’t doubt Putin does not mind a bit being thought of as scary. One of the things the Russians loved in the nineties was watching James Bond films where they were the baddies (my sister took out the reels of “The World Is Not Enough” as hand luggage). The Russians were a superpower, and maybe they miss it a bit. Many Russians love the idea that they have the US President in their pocket. But there is a lot between ‘not minding being thought a bit dodgy’ and ordering it done.

We should challenge the oft-repeated “fact” that this was a Russian operation until we have some evidence. Or, if we never get any evidence, then we will have to admit we don’t know. The tabloid press and our tabloid government carry on repeating it. Believe it without checking and Fake News has won.

PS: Yep. FIFA was in Soho Square, just around the corner from where I still work. Our hands aren’t clean.


First, I would ask which of these contentions is far-fetched:

  • An known enemy of Vladimir Putin is poisoned in the UK (not the first time this has happened)
  • Putin is the autocratic leader of Russia, with many organisations (not all of them competent intelligence agencies) vying for his favour
  • It suits Putin for his enemies to fear the results of opposing him, wherever they might flee his wrath
  • The poison used in this case is a rare military grade nerve agent originally developed in Russia, is extremely difficult to produce by a non-state actor
  • Several innocent British civilians were also affected by the same extremely rare poison, which was spread around willy-nilly around Salisbury region. This necessitated weeks if not months of UK law enforcement and public health resources committed to cleaning things up.

Assuming the answer is “none of them”, can you provide a less far-fetched scenario for which entity might be to blame?

Those attitudes would be quite charming, except for all the nerve agents and radioctive materials being strewn about the UK.

Not “maybe” and quite a lot more than “a bit”:

Granted, it’s a desire to be a different type of global superpower, but one none-the-less. And look, I get their desire for that, especially given the economic hardships and international humiliations they suffered after the USSR collapsed like the rotten pumpkin it was. But let’s not pretend that justifies the actions of the Putin regime or makes it any less autocratic than it is.

Some more than others. I’m sure they also love having leverage over the Brexit hardliners and right-wing populist xenophobic politicians in Europe that they’ve funded. But that’s a separate discussion.

I’ll just quote myself here, with the part you missed bolded:

whether he ordered it directly (unlikely) or not

This isn’t a court of law, it’s educated suppositions in an Internet comment forum. The bar for making one’s case is a lot lower. Notice that I have not once invoked the supposed authority of either the Tories or their lapdog press in any of my comments – they’re only slightly more reliable than the Putin government and propaganda outlets like RT and Sputnik.

I agree. However, I brought up FIFA in response to your comment on Russia’s wanting to whitewash its own bad reputation by the dubious strategy of partnering with other known criminals, so the tu quoque argument in this case is irrelevant.


These possibilities are both part of the Russian apparat’s MO, so neither of them exonerates Putin or Russia.



If you were to read the stories in, say Chemical and Engineering News, would you understand them?


Ooh, now that’s what I’m talking about!