Matthew Ehret for VT Canada
While navigating through today’s propaganda-heavy world of misinformation, spin and outright creative writing which appears to have replaced conventional journalism, it is most important that two qualities are active in the mind of any truth-seeker. The first quality is the adherence to a strong top-down perspective, both historic and global.
This is vital in order to guide us as a sort of compass or North Star used by sailors navigating across the ocean. The second quality is a strong power of logic, memory and discernment of wheat vs. chaff to process the mountains of data that slaps us in the face from all directions like sand in a desert storm.
As the second anniversary of the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal has arrived, it is a useful time to take these qualities and revisit this bizarre moment of modern history which took place on a park bench in Salisbury UK and which led to one of the greatest frauds of the modern era derailing all attempts to repair relations between Russia and the west.
To do this, I decided to plunge myself into a new book called Skripal in Prison written by Moscow-based journalist John Helmer and published in February 2020.
This incredible little book, which features 26 chapters written between March 2018 to February 2020 originally published on the author’s site Dances with Bears, unveils an arsenal of intellectual bullets which Helmer skillfully uses to shoot holes into every inconsistency, contradiction and outright lie holding up the structure of the narrative that “there is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian State was culpable for the attempted murder of Mr. Skripal and his daughter”.
This line was asserted without a shred of actual evidence by Theresa May in the House of Commons on March 16, 2018, and in the months that followed, western nations were pressured to expel Russian diplomats (23 in Britain, 60 in the US, 33 across the EU), close down consulates (one Russian consulate in San Francisco and one American consulate in St Petersburg) and impose waves of sanctions against Russia.
Four months after the Skripals (and one unfortunate detective named Sgt. Nick Bailey) were released from British hospital care, two more figures were stricken with Novichok poisoning and taken to hospital on June 30 with one of them (Dawn Sturgess) dying 9 days later. This too was blamed immediately on Russia.
Helmer’s research systematically annihilates the official narratives with the craftsmanship of a legal attorney, taking the reader through several vital questions which shape the book’s composition as a whole, and which I shall layout for you here:
- Why have Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia fallen off the face of the Earth since their release from Salisbury hospital? It is known that one controlled video was recorded featuring Yulia speaking, and several short calls to the family were made by Yulia and her father after their poisoning… but nothing more. Beyond the fact that it appears the Skripals were kept on an American military base in Gloucestershire for an indeterminate amount of time, Helmer points out “at the point in their recuperation when the two of them were beginning to be explicit in their public remarks about what had happened, their communications were cut off. Nothing more is known to this present day.”
- Despite the fact that the UK Prime Minister asserted that a European Arrest Warrant was issued for the two Russians that were alleged to have carried out Putin’s malevolent will onto the poor Skripals- why were no such warrants ever registered in Interpol? Is it because such warrants actually require evidence?
- Why did British Intelligence sanction the tearing down of big sections of Skripal’s home at 47 Christie Miller Road in Salisbury due to the apparent “dangers of deadly contaminants”, while only the door handle was tainted with Novichok? If the reasoning was due to health safety, then why were similar actions not taken to the Bourne Hill police station which Sgt. Bradley contaminated or the restaurant and pub which Sergei Skripal went to before his trip to the park … or the contaminated London hotel where the two Russian agents apparently stayed?
- Since Novichok is an extremely fast-acting substance, generally attacking the nervous system in minutes, how is it possible that the time separating the Skripals’ moment of contamination to the moment of losing consciousness on a park bench was over three hours?! How is this possible? Similarly, how was it possible that Sgt. Bailey’s point of contamination at Skripal’s home occurred a full 12 hours before he felt the need to go to the hospital?
- What the hell was up with the strange case of the two unfortunate victims of the July 2018 Novichok poisoning in Amesbury (9 miles from Salisbury)? Were Dawn Sturgess and her partner Charlie Rowley simply collateral damage in an MI6 effort to plug a missing hole in the narrative caused by a lack of any evidence of a device used to apply the nerve agent to the door handle in the first place? Why does Rowley (a known heroin addict) have no recollection where he found the perfume bottle filled with Novichok which he gifted to Sturgess on June 26? Why was the perfume bottle only found by authorities on Rowley’s kitchen counter two days after Sturgess died on July 9th even though a search for Novichok had been carried out at his apartment beginning with the couple’s admission into Salisbury hospital on June 30?
- What was the role of the Ministry of Defense’s Porton Down chemical laboratories in this bizarre story? The lab itself was located just a few miles from the crime scene, and the first responder on the scene was an off-duty Colonel named Alison McCourt who happened to be shopping nearby and rushed to the scene. Helmer describes how Col. McCourt is head of nursing for the British Army and Senior Health Advisor which connects her closely to the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down which also happened to have held a major chemical warfare exercise named Toxic Dagger in the area just two weeks earlier. Are these things nothing but coincidences?
- Porton Down labs which tested the Skripal blood samples and Novichok at the Skripal residence is part of the Ministry of Defense and to this day, no public admission of those samples’ existence at the labs has occurred. Requests by Helmer and others to receive confirmation of from the labs according to Freedom of Information laws have been denied outright on the grounds of “the public interest”. Why? Could it be because blood tests were never actually carried out? Helmer’s book probes this question deeply and the lack of evidence will shock you.
- How about the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)? Since the OPCW ran parallel tests of the apparent blood samples of the Skripals as well as the later July victims Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley to get “matches” with the novichok traces in a perfume bottle and Skripal door handle, why has evidence of these samples not been made available? Also, why was a British intelligence officer the only figure who oversaw the samples taken to the OPCW for verification? In fact, Helmer points out that the one Swiss contract laboratory (Spiez) associated with the OPCW has contradicted all British claims that any “match” exists between the Skripal samples and Novichok A-234 poisoning.
- Finally, Helmer asks: Why were all OPCW Executive Council votes in regards to matters surrounding the Skripal case, taken in secret, and thus in conflict with its own charter and why was Russia denied the right to share in the investigation of the Novichok attack as guaranteed in Articles XIII and IX of the OPCW Chemical Weapons Convention? Could that have something to do with the role of former OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü, a Turkish NATO-phile, who Helmer notes “has also been a member of the NATO staff in charge of expanding NATO military operations to the Russian frontier, as well as NATO operations in Ukraine and Syria.” In 2019, Üzümcü was inducted into the Order of St Michael and St George by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the Empire.
Helmer goes onto making the point that the overarching dynamic shaping the events of the Skripal/Novichok affair are guided by the collapsing western empire which has been working tirelessly to surround Russia with a ballistic missile shield while sabotaging all efforts by genuine patriots in the west from establishing positive alliances with Russia.
Taking the opportunity of the second anniversary of the Skripal affair to read this book is not only a valuable exercise in logic but also key into the desperate and increasingly fear-driven mind of the London-centered deep state which is quickly losing its grip both on reality and the very influence it had spent generations putting in place.