For months now, Democrats and some Republicans, in their zeal to topple the Trump administration, have been beating the drum against everything and everyone connected with Russia. I’m expecting any day now that caviar, borscht, and kvas will soon be subpoenaed in Brighton Beach, by order of Special Prosecutor Mueller. If you can indict a ham sandwich then why not borscht?
Anyway, there’s nothing to wax eloquent about regarding these paroxysms of Russophobia. Suffice it to say that ‘innocent until proven guilty’ does not apply here. The British have declared that Russia and Putin have ordered the poisonings of former KGB agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
The U.S. and the rest of the world has been expected to get in line behind the British in putting this crime on the Russian Federation, and also on Putin’s doorstep. Unless the British or the sabre-rattlers provide something ever remotely resembling proof, there are good reasons for deep skepticism of the British claims.
First of all, when the Soviet Union collapsed, the countries involved suffered through a period of free-for-all where state assets could be bought cheap. Everything and anything could be bought. A Showtime documentary airing now shows shady underworld characters buying helicopters, motorcycles, and even a submarine at unimaginably low prices. It was like Germany before WWII, even worse. There was no economy except for foreign dollars. I would expect that somewhere a terrorist or criminal group has some really nasty and deadly material, even including Novochok, which was developed by the Russians.
Consider the following:
Novochok is not just a single substance. It has several varieties and compositions, with varying lethalities. Novochok 5 is said to be the deadliest. All are said to be binary – meaning they need an activator or catalyst to become active. So now the story is someone activated the substance and put in on the Skripal’s doorknob? No security cameras operating? No one else (like the postman or a visitor) touched the doorknob? For how long would the substance be an effective killer? I
British first reports virtually swore that the Kripals were poisoned in the park where they were found. Months later, the claim is that a deadly nerve agent was put on the doorknob of their house. I don’t know how far the park is from the Kripal house but if they were poisoned at the home, and the poison was to be so deadly as to kill almost immediately, how did the Kripals manage a walk in and to the park? We might get some answers since Yulia Kripal has come out of her coma and is reportedly being interviewed on those matters.
Russia does not deny the nerve agent was developed in a lab of the former Soviet Union. British security services say it was developed in the town of Shikhany, southeast of Moscow. The Russians say that their former stocks of chemical weapons were not stored there. "All the bases where chemical weapons were stored are well-known,” says Mikhail Babich, a former chairman of the Kremlin commission for chemical disarmament,
The British newspaper “The Times” reports the British defense lab analyzing the nerve agent could not say for certain the substance came from Russia. So why are we hearing this now? All of America has been bombarded with news that the British were 100 percent certain the substance came from Russia.
Several former Russian scientists including Vil Mirzayanov say the Novichok group of nerve agents were invented by scientist Pyotr Kirpichev in Shikhany. This is very likely true, but that is old news. Mirzayanov is a welcome defector who has long been living in a million dollar house in ivy-covered Princeton, New Jersey. The scientist-teacher also said it was difficult to establish where the poison came from.
Vladimir Uglev, one of the chemists who worked on the nerve agent, told one newspaper that components to produce the weapon could be bought in several countries. Isn’t this what happened with nuclear weapons in general? Once the secrets are out, anyone might be able to get their hands on the formula. Thugs, criminals, terrorist factions, non-state operators, the list is long.
The really dangerous thing about blaming Putin and Russia for the poisoning is that everyone seems to accept the British version as if handed down from God. And the west is going down this blind alley of sanctions, hostility, revised foreign policy, and accusations without any real evidence?
Why not give the Russians a sample of the substance for their own analysis as they have requested? We seem to believe Russian scientists are competent only after they have defected. But why did the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons bow to political pressure and decline to investigate the matter independently? That was also requested by the Russians – an independent inquiry. So much for ‘global chemical watchdogs,’ as the organization is described.