Skripal: Theresa May set to hit back Russia over spy attack

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Re: Skripal: Theresa May set to hit back Russia over spy att

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon May 14, 2018 7:48 am

They might have found why Sergei Skripal was poisoned. He was supposedly giving briefings on Russian spycraft; possibly with the Brits help
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/14/worl ... oning.html




MI5 chief issues public warning to Russia in wake of Skripal attack

UK spy chief accuses Moscow of ‘pernicious actions’ amid ‘fog of lies’

UK says it has intelligence showing the March 4 attack in Salisbury was carried out by Russia © Getty

David Bond in London 2 HOURS AGO
One of the UK’s most senior spymasters has used a rare public intervention on Monday to warn Russia that it risks becoming a “more isolated pariah” following the Salisbury nerve agent attack.

In a speech to security chiefs in Berlin, MI5 director-general Andrew Parker accused the Kremlin of “flagrant breaches of international rules” and warned that the Russian government is pursuing an agenda through “aggressive and pernicious actions by its military and intelligence services”.

More than two months on from the attempted murder of Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury in southern England, counter-terror police and the Security Service have not identified any suspects.

The UK has nevertheless said it has intelligence which shows the attack on March 4, which involved a nerve agent from the novichok family of substances, was carried out by Russia. 

Mr Skripal is still in hospital but no longer in a critical condition, while his daughter was discharged last month.

The incident led to a sharp deterioration in relations between the west and Moscow, with more than 20 countries and Nato joining the UK in expelling 150 Russian diplomats.

Russia, which denies carrying out the attack on the Skripals, responded by expelling similar numbers of western diplomats.

Mr Parker said the attack was “deliberate and targeted malign activity” and condemned what MI5 describes as the “unprecedented” levels of disinformation by Russia following the attempted murder, highlighting the need “to shine a light through the fog of lies, half-truths and obfuscation that pours out of their propaganda machine”.


MI5 director-general Andrew Parker accuses the Kremlin of 'flagrant breaches of international rules'
Last October, Mr Parker warned the UK was facing the highest tempo of threats he had seen during more than three decades working at MI5 following a spate of Islamist-inspired terror attacks on UK soil.

In total 36 innocent people died in attacks in 2017, in London and Manchester, making it the most deadly year for the UK since the bombings in the capital in 2005.

Next Tuesday the UK will mark one year since the Manchester Arena bombing, which killed 22 people attending a concert. 

Although there have been no further attacks in the UK since the Parsons Green Tube incident in London last September, which did not claim any lives but injured 23 people, Mr Parker will warn that the threat from Isis, also known as Daesh, has not gone away. 

“Daesh still aspires to direct, devastating and more complex attacks,” he said.

Twelve terror plots have been thwarted by MI5 and police since last year’s Westminster attack in London, bringing the total number of thwarted incidents since 2013 to 25.

Mr Parker underlined the importance of intelligence and security co-operation between the UK and EU countries after Brexit. 

Prime minister Theresa May used a speech in Munich in February to signal a desire for continued close security and defence co-operation after Britain leaves the EU, but a row over the UK’s participation in the bloc’s Galileo satellite navigation project has, among other things, raised questions over the partnership.
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Re: Skripal: Theresa May set to hit back Russia over spy att

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon May 14, 2018 8:38 am

Skripal poisoning shines new light on activities of former spies

Retired double agent ‘continued to travel and share information’ about Russian spycraft

Michael Schwirtz and Ellen Barry in Prague
Former Russian military intelligence agent Sergei Skripal attends a hearing at the Moscow District Military Court on August 9th, 2006. Photograph: Yuri Senatorov/AFP/Getty Images
The ageing Russian spy had been a free man for only a few years when he turned up in Prague for a secret meeting with his former adversaries. He looked ill, but acted jovial, drinking with his Czech hosts and joking that his doctor had prescribed whiskey for high blood pressure.

Then he got down to business, rattling off information about Russian spycraft and the activities of former colleagues that might give the Czechs an edge over their foes. This was Sergei Skripal, the former Russian double agent who along with his daughter was nearly poisoned to death with a rare and toxic nerve agent 10 weeks ago, touching off a furious confrontation between Russia and the West that has played out like a cold war thriller and led to the expulsion of more than 150 Russian diplomats from more than two dozen countries.

The British authorities have accused Russia of trying to assassinate Skripal – a charge the Russians angrily deny – to send a broader message that the Kremlin would never forget or forgive any traitor. To buttress their case, British authorities have portrayed Skripal as a symbolic victim who was living quietly in semiretirement in Salisbury, England, after being swapped in a high-profile spy exchange in 2010.

But in the years before the poisoning, Skripal, a veteran of Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, apparently travelled widely, offering briefings on Russia to foreign intelligence operatives, according to European officials, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity. The meetings were almost certainly approved and possibly facilitated by British authorities as a way to both educate their allies and provide Skripal with income.

He met with Czech intelligence officials on several occasions and visited Estonia in 2016 to meet with local spies. Such visits were neither illegal nor unusual for defectors. But they meant that Skripal was meeting with intelligence officers working to thwart Russian operations in Europe, opening the possibility that his poisoning was a narrower act of retribution.

Secret trips

There is no way to know for certain whether Skripal’s travels made him a target, or even if the Russian government knew about them. The trips were kept secret, known only to a select few intelligence agents. Not a single official from the spy services in the Czech Republic or Estonia would discuss the details publicly.

Asked whether Skripal had met in recent years with intelligence agents in Spain, where he had once worked as a double agent, a spokesman for the country’s foreign intelligence service, CNI, said the question “is a red line we cannot cross”.

Skripal arrived in Prague in 2012 shortly after his wife, Lyudmila, succumbed to uterine cancer. He was grieving, but nevertheless in good spirits when he met with officers from at least one of the Czech Republic’s three intelligence services, according to a Czech official with knowledge of the meetings. Some details of the visit were first reported over the weekend by the Czech weekly Respekt, and were confirmed independently by the New York Times

During the brief visit, Skripal drank, he joked, and he provided Czech intelligence with information about GRU officers operating in Europe. His information was dated; he retired from the GRU in 1999. Even so, the Czech officers found his knowledge to be valuable. Many of the GRU agents he worked with in the 1990s were still active, the official said. Though Skripal’s health was poor, the official said, his mind was clear.

Skripal was so helpful that Czech intelligence officers continued to meet with him, the official said, making several trips to Britain in subsequent years, though the exact dates are unclear. Officials were more circumspect about Skripal’s visit to Estonia, with one describing it as “very sensitive information”.

A senior European official with knowledge of the trip confirmed that the former Russian agent met secretly with a select group of intelligence officers in June 2016, though it is not clear what they discussed. The British intelligence services helped facilitate the meeting, the official said. A spokesman for the British Home Office also declined to comment.

Enemies in Russia

Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found semiconscious on a park bench in the English town of Salisbury on March 4th. Officials later determined that they had been poisoned with Novichok, a deadly nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union. The British government has accused Russia of manufacturing and stockpiling the agent, as well as training “special units” to employ it against Russia’s enemies.

Russia has aggressively denied any involvement and has lampooned the British investigation. But Skripal would certainly still have enemies in Russia, not least of all President Vladimir Putin, who has said he is incapable of forgiving betrayal. In 2006, a Russian military court convicted Skripal of selling out fellow Russian spies in exchange for payments from British agents. He was serving a 13-year sentence when he was unexpectedly sent to Britain in the 2010 spy swap.

Russia’s relations with Estonia and the Czech Republic, two former Communist Bloc countries, are freighted with the legacy of the cold war. Estonia in particular moved aggressively to assert its independence after breaking with the Soviet Union in 1991, often provoking Russian ire. Ferreting out Russian spies is a source of national pride.

“Estonia has the best counterintelligence in Europe,” said Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who was Estonia’s president for a decade and left office in 2016. “We’ve caught as many spies as Germany. ”

Nothing about Skripal’s travels appears all that uncommon. John Sipher, who retired from the CIA in 2014 and once ran covert operations against the Russians, said the United States routinely deployed Russian defectors to lecture the intelligence services of its allies, though their meetings with other agencies would be kept secret to avoid angering Moscow.

“There is a bit of a game where, okay, the guy spied for us, we got what we wanted, and now that we’re out, we’re not going to rub your nose in it,” he said.

Sharing knowledge and experience is often the only way a former spy can make a living, experts said. Ilves, the former Estonian president, called it the “spook version of a lecture tour”.

For former double agents, retirement can be dull and anticlimactic. The British government provides a stipend, but in the past defectors have protested that it is too small. In the late 1990s, a former spy named Victor Makarov filed a complaint against the British intelligence services over his miserable living conditions and eventually ended up camping outside prime minister Tony Blair’s residence in protest.

Russian scrutiny

Others have resorted to creative and illegal means to augment their pensions. Oleg Gordievsky, a senior KGB officer whose defection in 1985 was a serious blow to the Soviet government, hosted a game show for a time. Mikhail Butkov, another KGB defector, was imprisoned for three years for creating a fake business school and defrauding would-be students out of £1.5 million.

“It’s psychological – they’ve been in the limelight, and they’re not important anymore,” said Stephen Dorril, the author of numerous books about Britain’s intelligence services.

Skripal appeared to be enjoying a comfortable, though modest, retirement. In Salisbury, the cozy cathedral town where he lived, the former Russian intelligence officer belonged to the Railway Social Club, drove a dark red BMW and owned a tidy red-brick home on Christie Miller Road.

Still, it was clear that he remained under Russian scrutiny. In 2013, the GRU hacked into his daughter’s email accounts, according to the British government. And in 2014, his case was profiled in a Russian documentary series about the lives of Russian traitors called The Price of Military Secrets that was financed by the Moscow government.

The Kremlin would probably not consider sharing outdated information with foreign intelligence services to be much of a threat, said Sipher, the retired CIA officer. But it would be a different matter if Skripal was being used for other purposes, like recruiting new Russian agents.

“If he was pitching other Russians, that would put him higher on the list,” Sipher said. “Or if he got too close to something that was really sensitive to the Russians.” – New York Times
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Re: Skripal: Theresa May set to hit back Russia over spy att

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed May 16, 2018 7:06 am

Case against Russia in Skripal poisoning now stronger: MI5 chief

BERLIN (Reuters) - The head of Britain’s MI5 spy agency said on Monday Britain’s case that Russia was responsible for the poisoning of a former spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter had strengthened in recent weeks.

FILE PHOTO: Director General of MI5 Andrew Parker delivers a speech in central London, on the security threat facing Britain October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Rousseau/Pool/File Photo
Andrew Parker told reporters in Berlin that the investigation was continuing, but he did not want to signal to Russia “what we know and what we don’t know.”

He noted the British government provided sufficient information to convince all 28 European Union members about its position several weeks ago. “The case has if anything got stronger since then, but I can’t explain why it is I say that today,” he said.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Paul Carrel
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-brit ... SKCN1IF1I9


Viktoria Skripal: Niece of poisoned Russian spy Sergei Skripal refused visa by UK government for second time

Home Affairs CorrespondentTuesday 15 May 2018 09:15 BST
Sergei Skripal’s niece has been refused a visa to visit Britain for a second time as he continues to be treated for nerve agent exposure.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We have refused a visa application from Viktoria Skripal on the grounds that she did not meet the requirements of the immigration rules.”

Viktoria Skripal previously attempted to gain a visa to travel from Moscow in early April and was turned down on the same basis, with her cousin Yulia publicly saying she did not wish to see her.

Ms Skripal has appealed to the government to let her visit her uncle and cousin, who are recovering following the attack in Salisbury on 4 March.

In April she revealed what was claimed to be recorded comments from phone conversations, but in a statement released last month Yulia said that “no one speaks for me, or for my father, but ourselves”.

“I thank my cousin Viktoria for her concern for us, but ask that she does not visit me or try to contact me for the time being,” she added.

“I have access to friends and family, and I have been made aware of my specific contacts at the Russian embassy who have kindly offered me their assistance in any way they can.

“At the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services, but, if I change my mind I know how to contact them.”

Mr Skripal remains at Salisbury District Hospital, where officials said his condition is improving and he is no longer in a critical condition.

His daughter was discharged last month and is recovering in an undisclosed location.

Russian officials have repeatedly attempted to cast Yulia’s situation as “forced isolation” and cast doubt on whether statements “really belong to Yulia”.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied any role in the nerve agent attack on Mr Skripal, a former double agent who was jailed for treason in Russia before moving to the UK following a 2010 spy swap.

Police concluded that nerve agent had been smeared on the door handle of his home in a quiet Salisbury cul-de-sac, affecting both him and his daughter during her visit from Russia.

Members of the emergency services, including DS Nick Bailey, were also affected by the substance and decontamination work continues across the Wiltshire city to rid sites they visited of any traces.

Skripal attack aftermath – in pictures

The British government has accused Russia of culpability after identifying the nerve agent used as one of the Soviet-developed novichok group and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed its analysis.

Investigators have not yet identified who carried out the poisoning, the national security adviser told MPs earlier this month.

Sir Mark Sedwill said police were reviewing the security of all defected Russian spies living in the UK in the wake of the unprecedented attack.

He insisted that authorities had acted “much faster” than following the murder of another former Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko, with radioactive polonium in 2006.

Little over a week after the attack in Salisbury, Russian businessman Nikolai Glushkov was found strangled at his London home. No one has been arrested in relation to his death and police investigations continue.

Scotland Yard said there was no immediate evidence of a link to the attack on Mr Skripal, but Mr Glushkov’s links to Russian dissident Boris Berezovsky sparked fresh scrutiny over a string of suspicious deaths.
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Re: Skripal: Theresa May set to hit back Russia over spy att

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri May 18, 2018 9:03 am

Skripal poisoning: Germany got Novichok chemical sample from Russia in 1990s

A new report says that a German intelligence agent was able to get a sample of Novichok from Russia shortly after the end of the Cold War. Insights gained from the sample are reportedly still important today.

Logo - Bundesnachrichtendienst (picture-alliance/dpa/M. Kappeler)
The German Intelligence Agency (BND) and military obtained a sample of the deadly chemical nerve agent Novichok from Russia in the early 1990s, according to an investigative report by German media.

The report says Western countries' knowledge about the nerve agent, which was used to poison a Russian double agent in the United Kingdom in March, "largely stems" from the secret mission.

Read more: Czech government confirms it tested Novichok-type agent

Germany's secret Novichok mission:

According to an investigative team from German newspapers Süddeutsche Zeitung and Die Zeit and public broadcasters NDR and WDR:

The BND had a Russian scientist as a secret informant in Russia in the early 1990s.

The scientist offered to hand over information and probes about a new class of Russian-made chemical weapons in exchange for asylum for him and his family in Germany.

German politicians and officials disagreed about whether to take up the offer; some worried any action could suggest Germany was interested in developing its own chemical weapons.

Then-German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and the Defense Ministry eventually permitted a probe to be sent to a laboratory in Sweden for analysis.

Swedish scientists then transferred the chemical formula, but not the original sample, to the BND and German Defense Ministry.

Kohl ordered the BND to share information about the mission with Germany's closest allies, including the intelligence services in the United States and United Kingdom.

Some countries used the information about "Novichok" to produce small quantities of the nerve agent to produce countermeasures.
No response from Germany or Sweden

The BND and German government said they only discuss intelligence issues with the relevant parliamentary committees in the German Bundestag.

The Swedish government told the investigative team that it was not aware of its involvement in the mission and would need more time to investigate what happened to the Novichok probe it allegedly analyzed.

Read more: UK says attack on ex-Russian spy Skripal undercuts chemical weapons ban

Sergei Skripal (picture-alliance/dpa/Tass)
Russian spy poisoning: How it unfolded
Ex-Russian spy poisoned

On March 4, former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his 33-year-old daughter were found slumped on a bench outside a shopping center in the British town of Salisbury. Authorities said both were in a critical condition after being exposed to an "unknown substance." Skripal was a former general of Russian military intelligence who had been convicted in Russia for spying for the UK.
Connection to Skripal: The investigative report suggests Western intelligence services based some of their findings concerning a Novichok attack against former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in March in southern England on German mission: "Information about the Soviet-made class of chemical weapons known as Novichok came primarily from the secret BND mission."

OPCW confirmation: The OPCW implicitly confirmed Novichok was used to poison the Skripals in mid-April when it said its analysis of the attack "confirm[ed] the findings of the United Kingdom relating to the identity of the toxic chemical."

Not the only one: The Czech Republic said in early April that it had previously produced small amounts of Novichok nerve agent. The types developed were, however, different from the one used to poison the Skripals.

Diplomatic fallout: The UK government has repeatedly accused Russia of responsibility for the attack. Russia has denied any wrongdoing. Both sides, including many UK allies, have expelled each other's diplomats in a tit-for-tat exchange.

http://www.dw.com/en/skripal-poisoning- ... a-43818626







MI5 chief issues public warning to Russia in wake of Skripal attack

UK spy chief accuses Moscow of ‘pernicious actions’ amid ‘fog of lies’

UK says it has intelligence showing the March 4 attack in Salisbury was carried out by Russia © Getty

David Bond in London MAY 14, 2018
One of the UK’s most senior spymasters has used a rare public intervention on Monday to warn Russia that it risks becoming a “more isolated pariah” following the Salisbury nerve agent attack.

In a speech to security chiefs in Berlin, MI5 director-general Andrew Parker accused the Kremlin of “flagrant breaches of international rules” and warned that the Russian government is pursuing an agenda through “aggressive and pernicious actions by its military and intelligence services”.

More than two months on from the attempted murder of Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury in southern England, counter-terror police and the Security Service have not identified any suspects.

The UK has nevertheless said it has intelligence which shows the attack on March 4, which involved a nerve agent from the novichok family of substances, was carried out by Russia. 

Mr Skripal is still in hospital but no longer in a critical condition, while his daughter was discharged last month.

The incident led to a sharp deterioration in relations between the west and Moscow, with more than 20 countries and Nato joining the UK in expelling 150 Russian diplomats.

Russia, which denies carrying out the attack on the Skripals, responded by expelling similar numbers of western diplomats.

Mr Parker said the attack was “deliberate and targeted malign activity” and condemned what MI5 describes as the “unprecedented” levels of disinformation by Russia following the attempted murder, highlighting the need “to shine a light through the fog of lies, half-truths and obfuscation that pours out of their propaganda machine”.


MI5 director-general Andrew Parker accuses the Kremlin of 'flagrant breaches of international rules'
Last October, Mr Parker warned the UK was facing the highest tempo of threats he had seen during more than three decades working at MI5 following a spate of Islamist-inspired terror attacks on UK soil.

In total 36 innocent people died in attacks in 2017, in London and Manchester, making it the most deadly year for the UK since the bombings in the capital in 2005.

Next Tuesday the UK will mark one year since the Manchester Arena bombing, which killed 22 people attending a concert. 

Although there have been no further attacks in the UK since the Parsons Green Tube incident in London last September, which did not claim any lives but injured 23 people, Mr Parker will warn that the threat from Isis, also known as Daesh, has not gone away. 

“Daesh still aspires to direct, devastating and more complex attacks,” he said.

Twelve terror plots have been thwarted by MI5 and police since last year’s Westminster attack in London, bringing the total number of thwarted incidents since 2013 to 25.

Mr Parker underlined the importance of intelligence and security co-operation between the UK and EU countries after Brexit. 

Prime minister Theresa May used a speech in Munich in February to signal a desire for continued close security and defence co-operation after Britain leaves the EU, but a row over the UK’s participation in the bloc’s Galileo satellite navigation project has, among other things, raised questions over the partnership.
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Viktoria Skripal: Niece of poisoned Russian spy Sergei Skripal refused visa by UK government for second time

Lizzie Dearden Home Affairs Correspondent
Tuesday 15 May 2018 09:15 BST
Yulia Skripal has previously said she did not want to see her cousin
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/h ... 52126.html


Sergei Skripal briefed European intelligence services, reports say

Reported meetings between former Russian spy and several intelligence services in Europe may offer motive for poisoning

Ewen MacAskillLast modified on Mon 14 May 2018 11.20 EDT

The former Russian spy Sergei Skripal gave briefings to European intelligence services in the years before the attempt on his life, which may offer a motive for why Moscow allegedly targeted him with a deadly nerve agent.

Skripal was a regular lecturer in the US and Europe for at least a decade, speaking at universities and military academies and to other groups interested in intelligence.

However, Whitehall sources said the revelation that he spoke on the lecture circuit, as other spies had done before him, neither explained nor justified the nerve agent attack.

Although his operational knowledge ended with his arrest in Russia in 2004, Skripal was still regarded as being of value because of his inside knowledge of the workings of Russian military intelligence.

According to the Czech magazine Respekt, Skripal visited Prague in 2012 and held discussions with Czech intelligence. He briefed security officers on Kremlin espionage methods, and the meeting was described as “beneficial”. Members of Czech intelligence subsequently met Skripal in the UK at least once, the magazine reported.

The claims shed new light on the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, 10 weeks ago in Salisbury. The pair were targeted with novichok, a lethal Soviet-developed nerve agent, in what the UK government maintains was a clandestine Russian operation.

The Russian government and its embassy in London have furiously denied the claims. They have pointed to the fact that Skripal – a senior officer in the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence outfit – was jailed for spying for the British and later pardoned. He was exchanged in a spy swap in 2010 and settled in the UK.

He gave sensitive briefings to European intelligence agencies after he moved to Britain. It seems that MI6 approved of and facilitated these trips. In June 2016 Skripal travelled to Estonia and met a select group of intelligence officers there, the New York Times reported on Monday. It said it was unclear what they discussed.

Although his operational information was dated, ceasing with his arrest in Russia in 2004, he was still regarded as being of value because of his inside knowledge of the workings of Russian military intelligence.

Security sources in the Czech Republic said Skripal’s meetings with Czech intelligence agents would probably have been useful, but they dismissed them as a likely motive for the poisoning attack.

“It’s clear that he cooperated with the British services before that and they were the owners of his information, so that’s the reason [he was targeted],” one retired senior agent with the Czech foreign intelligence service, ÚZSI, told the Guardian.

He added: “The ties between MI6 and the Czech intelligence services are so good that it’s normal that the British were willing to rent him out, so to speak, to the Czech services. It would have been a very useful and interesting meeting for the Czechs, there’s no doubt about that. When do you have the chance to meet a KGB or GRU officer? Almost never.”

Ondrej Kundra, a security specialist with the magazine Respekt, said Skripal probably passed “specific information” about the operation of Russia intelligence operations in the Czech Republic gleaned from his previous position as head of the human resources with the GRU, Russia’s foreign intelligence agency.

The Czech Republic has expressed repeated reservations about the large number of Russian diplomats – estimated at around 100 – stationed in the country amid suspicions that many of them are undercover spies.

“He knew the names of some GRU spies who were working within the EU – it didn’t matter that he was no longer working for them himself and had left many years before,” said Kundra.

“He knew agents who are still operating. But it’s not only about providing specific information. It’s also about the Czech guys wanting to know what these agents look like, what is their psychology and behaviour patterns, and so on. It’s one thing reading about these guys – if you have the chance as an agent to see them and ask questions, it’s even better.”

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/201 ... eports-say


UK detectives 'question Sergei Skripal' over trips to London and MI6 meetings

Published time: 17 May, 2018 11:02 Edited time: 17 May, 2018 11:36

UK detectives 'question Sergei Skripal' over trips to London and MI6 meetings
Ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal is still being questioned in hospital by detectives about meetings with his alleged former MI6 handler and his trips to London, ten weeks after being poisoned by a nerve agent, reports Sky News.
It is thought that they want to ascertain details of Skripal’s life in Britain, reportedly attempting to pinpoint his monthly meetings in a Salisbury restaurant with his supposed former MI6 handler and his regular trips to London.

According to reports Skripal had been in contact with Estonian and Czech Republic intelligence agencies, briefing them on various methods used by Russian spies. The double-agent reportedly gave a lecture as recently as 2016 in the Czech Republic. The meetings have been posited by some publications in the British and US press as a motive for the Kremlin to poison Skripal.

Sergei Skripal’s niece again denied visa by Britain to visit relatives amid abduction fears
Speaking to Sky News, espionage historian Alexander Vassiliev suggested another culprit, the Russian mafia. Vassiliev told Sky News that criminals are most likely behind the nerve agent attack on Sergei and his daughter Yulia Skripal. Their motivation? Embarrassment for Vladimir Putin and his government as "the Russian government had no reason to kill Skripal", Vassiliev claims.

Vassiliev says there wasn’t a reason to kill him [by the Russian government]. I'm sure when Putin released him, and pardoned him, he knew Skripal would be co-operating with British secret services and other European espionage agencies.

"All defectors are doing it, they work as consultants, they give lectures, they write books - it's a normal thing. He had to earn his living somehow - he wouldn't have been a taxi driver.

"Skripal was arrested in 2004 - that was a long time ago and he didn't know specific details about current objectives or operatives. The Russian government had no reason to kill Skripal - he was nobody and he wasn't a danger.

"It was obvious that killing him would create a huge international scandal that would damage Russian reputation all over the world."

The British government insists that the Kremlin was behind the attack on the Skripals, who were reportedly poisoned by a nerve agent administered on the door handle of Sergei’s home in Salisbury. Yulia was discharged from hospital five weeks ago, but has not given any interviews since being released. Russia denies any involvement
https://www.rt.com/uk/426983-skripal-mi ... ock-agent/
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Re: Skripal: Theresa May set to hit back Russia over spy att

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri May 18, 2018 1:27 pm

Ex-spy Sergei Skripal discharged after poisoning

Sergei Skripal was exposed to a nerve agent from the Novichok group in Salisbury
Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal has been discharged from hospital, two months after being poisoned with a nerve agent in Salisbury.

The 66-year-old was found slumped on a park bench in the city on 4 March, with his daughter Yulia.

They were taken to Salisbury District Hospital's intensive care unit, where they were stabilised after being exposed to Novichok.

Ms Skripal was released on 9 April and was moved to a secure location.

It is not known whether Mr Skripal has been taken to the same location as his daughter.

The Metropolitan Police said its investigation into the attack continued and it would not "be discussing any protective or security arrangements that are in place".


BBC Rewind looks back at cases of high-profile Russians targeted on foreign soil
Director of nursing Lorna Wilkinson said treating the Skripals had been "a huge and unprecedented challenge".

She added: "This is an important stage in his recovery, which will now take place away from the hospital."

Russian ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko welcomed the news that Mr Skripal had been discharged, and repeated his demand for consular access to the former spy and his daughter.

At a news conference at his official residence in London, Mr Yakovenko said: "We are happy that he is all right."

The Russian ambassador has previously claimed the UK is violating international law by not granting access to the Skripals.

"If they don't want our assistance, that's fine, but we want to see them physically," he said.

Sergei Skripal: Who is the former Russian colonel?
Russia 'targeted' Yulia Skripal's email
DS Nick Bailey - the police officer who first attended the Skripals on the day of the poisoning - was also treated for exposure to the nerve agent, but was discharged in March.

Clinicians at the hospital had to keep the Skripals alive while their bodies could produce more enzymes to replace those that had been poisoned.

Presentational grey line
Analysis

By Leila Nathoo, BBC News correspondent

When Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were left in a critical condition, it seemed improbable that the two would survive.

Now, less then three months on, both have been discharged from hospital.

Their personal safety will be a priority for the police - the two have been taken to a secure location.

Detectives are continuing to investigate the attempted murder of the Skripals, though so far no suspects have been named.

They will have spoken at length to both Sergei and Yulia about what happened and why they may have been targeted.

But police say they are still working to establish the full facts of the attack.

Presentational grey line
The UK government blamed Russia for the attack, with Prime Minister Theresa May describing the incident as "brazen" and "despicable".

But the Russian government denied any involvement and has accused the UK of inventing a "fake story".

Yulia and Sergei Skripal
Yulia and Sergei Skripal were taken to Salisbury District Hospital after being found slumped on a bench
In 2006 Mr Skripal, a former Russian colonel, was jailed in Russia for 13 years for passing on the identities of Russian spies in Europe to the UK intelligence services.

But in 2010 he was part of a prisoner swap between Moscow and the United States. He eventually settled in Salisbury.

When Ms Skripal was released she refused assistance from the Russian embassy, who claim they had been denied consular access to a Russian national.

Recently the director general of MI5, Andrew Parker, publicly blamed Russia for the "reckless" poisoning, accusing the Kremlin of "flagrant breaches of international rules".

Officers in protective suitsGetty Images
Specialist officers in protective suits retrieved samples from multiple sites in Salisbury
The investigation into the nerve agent attack saw the closure of areas of Salisbury, as police and specialist investigators identified where the Skripals were poisoned.

The highest concentration of the Novichok was found at the Skripals' front door.

A multimillion pound operation to decontaminate nine locations in the city is under way. Two places that the Skripals visited - the Mill pub and a Zizzi restaurant - are among the places deemed to be still at risk.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-44165718

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Re: Skripal: Theresa May set to hit back Russia over spy att

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon May 21, 2018 4:50 pm

The Russian agents who poisoned the Skripals likely stayed in the UK after the attack as 'sleeper' agents, espionage experts say

Jim Edwards
May. 20, 2018, 4:00 AM 4,588

An image of Sergei Skripal under arrest by Russian authorities before he came to Britain. Sky News
Sergei Skripal left hospital last week after recovering from an assassination attempt.
One creepy prospect for the Skripals is that the would-be assassins may still be in the UK, as sleeper agents living undercover as normal people.
"An actual 'illegal' with an existing, years-long 'legend' would attract attention by going missing all of a sudden — i.e. friends, co-workers or neighbours might report a missing person to police," a Russia intelligence expert tells Business Insider.

LONDON — Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal left hospital last week after recovering from an assassination attempt. Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a nerve agent at his home in Salisbury in March by Russian spies, British counter-terror authorities have said.

One creepy prospect for the Skripals is that the would-be assassins may still be in the UK, living undercover as normal people, Russian espionage experts say. It's easy to smuggle people out of Britain. For those of us not in the espionage business, it seems surprising that the attackers would stay in the country rather than escape immediately.

But Russia probably left its agents in place for an extended period after the attack.

Russia probably has more "sleeper" agents living as ordinary British people in the UK right now that during the Cold war, according to Victor Madeira, a senior fellow at The Institute for Statecraft, who testified to Parliament about Russian covert interference in Britain. Russia's "illegals" program places agents in Western countries where they live apparently normal lives for years, all the while quietly collecting influential contacts. Russia might activate an illegal for a special mission like an assassination. Fifteen people are suspected to have been killed by Russian spies in Britain since 2003. The most recent was Nikolay Glushkov, a vocal Putin critic who predicted his own murder.

Madeira told Business Insider that if a sleeper agent was used in the attempt on Skripal's life, he or she probably remained in Britain after the attack rather than trying to immediately escape back to Russia.

victor madeira casual cropped
Victor Madeira, a senior fellow at The Institute for Statecraft. Victor Madeira
"Why leave someone here, at risk of detection, after such a high-profile attack?" he told Business Insider. "I can only think of two scenarios where that might happen:"
"An actual 'illegal' with an existing, years-long 'legend' would attract attention by going missing all of a sudden - i.e. friends, co-workers or neighbours might report a missing person to police, who might then put two and two together and tie that person to the Skripal attack. Better to keep him/her in place, living a mundane life again, their role in this operation now concluded."
"Someone who isn't an 'illegal' in the strictest sense of the word, but for now having to stay in hiding in the UK until things settle down a bit. Perhaps with a new set of ID papers, s(he) can eventually look to exit the country via a quieter, lower-profile exit point."
Obviously, we cannot know exactly what the operative did after the attack. The Mirror reported in April that one suspect has flown back to Russia. Earlier that month, the Mirror's source speculated that the sleeper agent would still be in the UK, ready for another mission. "Unless it were an absolute emergency and the operative had to chance a 'crash escape', this exit point would normally be carefully picked based on e.g. the set of ID papers available, the person's appearance and overall profile, history in the UK if checked by the Border Force, how tight border controls were assessed to be at that exit point, etc.," Madeira told Business Insider.http://www.businessinsider.com/russian- ... -uk-2018-5





Almost 100 police have received psychological help after Salisbury attack

Chief of Wiltshire force says ‘best support’ has been given to personnel including himself

Steven MorrisThu 17 May 2018 07.55 EDT

Almost 100 Wiltshire police officers and staff have sought psychological support after the nerve agent attack in Salisbury, the Guardian can reveal.

Among those who have asked for help were officers who initially responded to the collapse of the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, and those who were at or close to the various investigation sites in subsequent days and weeks.

Some reported feeling disorientated and anxious while others were concerned about the possible long-term health effects on the public.

Wiltshire’s chief constable, Kier Pritchard, told the Guardian that officers – including himself and other police personnel continued to receive help more than two months after the attack.

Pritchard took up the role of head of the force on the day of the attempted murders and said he had personally received the “best support” as he worked through the implications for him and his family of being a high-profile figure in the response to a state-sponsored attack.

One police officer, DS Nick Bailey, spent more than two weeks in hospital after being exposed to the novichok nerve agent and when he was discharged said life would never be the same again.

But Pritchard revealed more than 90 officers and staff had received support through the trauma risk management (Trim) programme, a police scheme based on a project developed by the Royal Marines.

Trim practitioners are police officers and staff trained to help traumatised colleagues through an event that has caused physical, emotional or psychological harm.

Pritchard said officers responding to the attack on 4 March had believed they were helping at a medical episode, possibly drugs related.

“I’ve watched the body cam footage that was recording what they did that day. The response was absolutely first class,” he said.

“We have had over 90 of our officers and staff come forward to receive support through the Trim process. That is based upon the impact of either attending the scene, the fear they may have been exposed to a chemical incident, the psychological impact of how the situation unfolded and the uncertainty of the public health advice and information.”

He added that it was a “high stress” situation and those at “the sharp end” were disorientated and anxious.

Asked about his own reaction, Pritchard said: “It was my first day. It wasn’t the first day I was expecting. It was a privilege despite the fact that the circumstances were unprecedented and horrific. It was a privilege to take the role as the figurehead of the operation on the global stage.

“Any incident like this will make you stop and reflect about impact on yourself, your family. You start to think about the implications for you as someone who has been a prominent figure in the response.

“But I’ve been given the best support that is available to me, I’m used to speaking to our occupational health unit on a very frequent basis. I think it’s really positive as leader to demonstrate that is OK for the leader to do things in the right way too.”

Pritchard, who was speaking during Mental Health Awareness Week, said he saw the number of police personnel who had asked for help after the Salisbury attack as a sign of success.

He said: “We’ve opened our doors, we’ve provided the right resources and people are prepared to say: ‘I could do with some help, advice, support.”

Pritchard said Wiltshire and other forces had worked hard to tackle the “macho” culture in which admitting mental health issues was seen as a weakness.

As well as investing in the occupational health unit and Trim, the force had signed up to the Blue Light programme, which encourages staff to talk about mental health issues.

Pritchard revealed that after the suicide of a colleague he sought help through Trim. “I wasn’t coping well at work or at home; I wasn’t sleeping well, I was anxious and irritable, I felt angry, guilty and sad – a whole host of emotions – and I could see that my work and family were suffering.

“The force offered me Trim. Once I’d accepted that I needed help, I really embraced the whole process and felt as though a weight had been lifted from me. My reaction, as is the case for many, was normal – it was the event that was abnormal.”

Pritchard said the nature of the job meant officers and other police personnel may be more at risk of mental health problems than the general public as a whole, but added that cuts to police numbers were increasing the pressure.


https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/201 ... hire-force
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Re: Skripal: Theresa May set to hit back Russia over spy att

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue May 29, 2018 8:10 pm

UK doctors concerned about Skripals' long-term health after poisoning

Daughter of poisoned ex-spy: Lucky to be alive
(CNN)Medical staff who treated a Russian former spy and his daughter for poisoning by a nerve agent in the UK have told of how they initially feared the pair would die, and have said they are uncertain over their long-term health.

In an interview with BBC Two's Newsnight program, staff from Salisbury District Hospital in southern England spoke publicly for the first time about the poisoning of 66-year-old Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia Skripal, who have both since been discharged.
The UK government says the pair were poisoned with a military-grade Novichok nerve agent. A police officer who attended the scene was also affected, although less seriously.

Nerve agent treatment and recovery 'extremely painful,' poisoned Russian woman says
Salisbury hospital's medical director, Dr. Christine Blanshard, said staff would need to continue supporting the pair. When asked of their prognosis, she responded: "I think the honest answer is that we don't know. We have a total world experience of treating three patients for the effects of Novichok poisoning, and I think it's safe to say that we're still learning."

Several staff members described their shock at the nature of the case, which became the subject of a diplomatic crisis between Russia and the UK. Britain openly blamed Moscow for poisoning the pair and expelled 23 Russian diplomats from the country, while many other nations did the same to show their support for the UK.

"I spoke to the nurse in charge, and it was this conversation I really could never have imagined in my wildest imagination as having with anyone," said Dr. Duncan Murray, the hospital's senior intensive care consultant.

"Essentially the story of a known Russian spy having been admitted to hospital in pretty unusual circumstances."

The Skripals were found slumped on a bench in the cathedral city of Salisbury on March 4. When they were found, medical staff suspected an opioid overdose, Newsnight reported.

Russian spy attack nerve agent was rare, dangerous and sophisticated
"We were just told that there were two patients down in the emergency department who were critically unwell and they would be coming up to the unit," said ward sister Sarah Clark, who was on duty the night the Skripals were admitted.

She said that as staff tried to establish what might have happened to the Skripals, they became worried that they too could be affected. She said staff had not "taken any extra precautions in terms of protecting ourselves" at that point.

Nursing director Lorna Wilkinson said that staff became more worried when the police officer, Nick Bailey, was also admitted with similar symptoms to the Skripals'.

"There was a real concern as to how big this could get," she said.

Evidence showed 'they would not survive'


When police established that Sergei Skripal had been a spy, they told the hospital that he and his daughter may have been poisoned.

"When we first were aware this was a nerve agent, we were expecting them not to survive," said Dr. Stephen Jukes, an intensive care consultant.

"We would try all our therapies. We would ensure the best clinical care. But all the evidence was there that they would not survive."

Sergei Skripal, right, and Yulia Skripal at a restaurant in Salisbury.
Sergei Skripal, right, and Yulia Skripal at a restaurant in Salisbury.

But the pair survived thanks to a combination of factors -- a quick arrival in intensive care, heavy sedation to limit any brain damage and the expertise of those at the nearby Porton Down laboratory, according to hospital staff.

Dr. Jukes said new approaches were taken to existing types of treatment, and that the speed at which the Skripals recovered was something of a surprise that he could not quite explain.

Last week, Yulia Skripal made her fist public appearance since being hospitalized. The 33-year-old spent 20 days in a coma before she was released in April and taken to a safe place.

"We are so lucky to have both survived this attempted assassination," she said in a video recorded in an undisclosed location.
"I don't want to describe the details, but the clinical treatment was invasive, painful and depressing. Our recovery has been slow and extremely painful."
https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/29/health/s ... index.html


Who, us? Russia is gaslighting the world on the Skripal poisonings

Alexey KovalevFri 25 May 2018 11.06 EDT
From state television to the Russian embassy in London, indignation, mockery and flat-out denial is the order of the day

Maria Zakharova, Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman
‘No evidence will ever be satisfying enough for Maria Zakharova, Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, to publicly admit the blame during her weekly press briefing.’ Photograph: Artyom Geodakyan/TASS
Russia’s reaction to Yulia Skripal’s bombshell Reuters interview has been boringly predictable. State officials, TV hosts, loyalists reporters, a host of experts and, of course, online trolls scrambled to cast doubt on Skripal’s statement.

She couldn’t have known the meaning of “invasive therapy”, she’s a geographist by education. Why didn’t she conceal that hideous tracheostomy scar under a scarf or something? Why did she have to flaunt it like that? Why was her delivery so laboured and unnatural? She kept looking sideways and pursing her lips! Any physiognomist could see that!

She looks like a schoolgirl reciting a poem, one expert chimed in. No, her entire statement looks like an Isis hostage video, said another. Her chaotic lettering betrays an easily led personality, a handwriting expert told the Russian defence ministry’s TV channel.

And anyway, everyone agrees, her speech was full of awkward turns of phrase, which clearly indicates that Skripal was reading from someone else’s crib sheet. And it was obviously written by a native English speaker and then translated – badly – into Russian (the Russian embassy’s infamously waspish Twitter account mocked MI5’s scarcity of well-paid Russia experts). What Russian could have possibly said “back home to my country” instead of just “back to Russia”?


Yulia Skripal says her world has 'turned upside down' – video
The wider coverage of the Skripal case in Russia isn’t any different. Nor is it for any other high-profile case where Russia is the internationally agreed culprit – from Alexander Litvinenko’s poisoning to the downing of flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine. A barrage of flat-out official denial, conflicting versions from overnight experts clamouring for attention on state television, and crude mockery, coupled with the limited reach and lack of access for the few remaining independent media organisations, ensures that few opposing views get through the smoke and mirrors.

A team of silver-tongued tricksters, who go by the names of Lexus and Vovan, phoned the UK’s foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, and tricked him into thinking that he was speaking to the Armenian prime minister. Russian state media made sure that this story dominated the headlines of the day.

Mockery is an important part of this narrative. Latching on to Theresa May’s statement about Russia’s “highly likely” involvement in the Skripals’ poisoning, the same TV networks and trolls have spun a whole comedy sub-narrative, turning it into a hashtag and even a (still-born) programme to encourage Russian students in the UK to return home. The gist of this counter-argument is that Russia will not accept even a hint of ambivalence in evidence against itself – and no evidence will ever be satisfying enough for Maria Zakharova, Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, to publicly admit the blame during her weekly press briefing.

While it’s tempting to classify all this as some manifestation of the Russian state’s dark arts – “weaponised fake news” or a centrally ordered disinformation campaign – the reality on the ground is rather more mundane and, frankly, desperate. If we are to believe one of the versions of Sergei and Yulia Skripal’s poisoning – that it was the work of a rogue agent – Russia could help with the investigation. But that would require accepting at least a portion of the blame, which just never happens in Russia. Blame means weakness, and no Russian official is prepared to show even a trace of that, especially not in front of their own team. So bluster is the only way, even if it clearly leads to a dead end.

The Skripal situation is a depressingly predictable stalemate: the more western leaders and the media press for answers, the less Russian representatives are prepared to give any and will only lash out, even if it means further sanctions and isolation. But, as one government official told me: “If you want to get something from them, don’t always shave against the grain. Sometimes a little flattery can go a long way with these people.”

• Alexey Kovalev is a Russian journalist
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... an-embassy
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Re: Skripal: Theresa May set to hit back Russia over spy att

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:20 am

Hackers linked to Russian government targeted Swiss chemical weapons experts

Hackers linked to Russian government targeted Swiss chemical weapons experts

The canton of Bern-based laboratory was apparently targeted for its role in the investigation into the Skripals' poisoning in the UK.

The former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with the Novichok nerve agent in the British town of Salisbury on March 4th, 2018. The attack has been widely attributed to the Russian government, which continues to deny any involvement.

The Spiez Laboratory had been analyzing the nerve agent involved in that attack, thus attracting Moscow's attention, according to a report in Swiss newspaper Sonntags Blick.

The hackers, said to be from the Russian government-affiliated group Sandworm, posed as the laboratory's organizing committee and circulated a word document with instructions for a forthcoming conference on chemical weapons in September. The cyber criminals used a fake email address and targeted the chemical weapons experts invited to the conference.

"Someone posed as the Spiez Laboratory," Kurt Münger of the Federal Office for Civil Protection told the daily. "We immediately informed the conference invitees that the document was not ours. And pointed to the danger."

The Sandworm hack caused limited damage. "The laboratory itself has not registered any outflow of data," Münger confirmed.

The Spiez Laboratory's 99 staff members "advise national authorities and international organizations in implementing and developing arms control and non-proliferation agreements," according to the agency's web page on Switzerland's Federal Office for Civil Protection. The laboratory is also "involved in international missions relating to arms control and environmental protection."

The experts also "provide services relating to arms control, protection measures, health and incident management for international organizations, authorities and the general population."

This isn't the first time an agency based in Switzerland has been targeted in 2018, however. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was allegedly hacked earlier this year, as were Swiss IT companies, according to the same report.

German media houses ZDF and WDR were also recently targeted with fake Word documents purporting to offer employees of the news organizations information on Internet security, according to German news site Spiegel Online.
https://www.thelocal.ch/20180730/hacker ... ns-experts



Novichok poisoning: police identify Skripal suspects – report

Russian suspects spotted on CCTV, as inquest opens into death of Dawn Sturgess

Steven Morris
First published on Thu 19 Jul 2018 01.08 EDT
Russian suspects spotted on CCTV, as inquest opens into death of Dawn Sturgess

Police are believed to have identified the suspected perpetrators of the novichok attack on the Russian former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.

Detectives think several Russians were involved in the attack in Salisbury in March and are looking for more than one suspect, the Press Association reported.

On Thursday an inquest was opened into the death this month of Dawn Sturgess following exposure to novichok.

During the 15-minute hearing it emerged that Sturgess, 44, did not regain consciousness after falling ill at her partner Charlie Rowley’s home in Amesbury, eight miles north of Salisbury. A family member described saying goodbye to her after doctors said they were going to turn off life-support systems.

It was also revealed that Sturgess’s body was guarded by police in hospital and on the way to an unnamed facility where the postmortem took place – a sign of the public health concerns surrounding her death. More tests will take place before a cause of death is given, the inquest in Salisbury was told.

Dawn Sturgess
Dawn Sturgess died following exposure to novichok on 8 July. Photograph: Handout/Reuters
On Thursday morning the Press Association quoted a source with knowledge of the Skripal case as saying: “Investigators believe they have identified the suspected perpetrators of the novichok attack through CCTV and have cross-checked this with records of people who entered the country around that time. They [the investigators] are sure they [the suspects] are Russian.”

The PA report said it was understood that Sturgess was exposed to at least 10 times as much novichok as the Skripals came into contact with. Investigators were working on the theory that the substance was in a discarded perfume bottle found by Sturgess and Rowley in a park or elsewhere in Salisbury city centre, and that Sturgess sprayed it straight on to her skin, the source said.

The Metropolitan police, which is leading the investigation, declined to comment. The security minister, Ben Wallace, tweeted that the PA report belonged in the “ill-informed and wild speculation folder”.

Ben Wallace MP (@BWallaceMP)
I think this story belongs in the “ill informed and wild speculation folder”

July 19, 2018
Since March officers have been examining many hundreds of hours of CCTV footage, attempting to spot the Skripal attackers. The Guardian reported on 5 July that police had dropped a hint that they may now know the identity of the would-be killers who targeted the Skripals.

Police are working on the assumption that the novichok that killed Sturgess came from the same batch used in the Skripal attack, but scientists are still trying to prove or disprove a direct link.

The inquest heard that emergency services attended Rowley’s home between 10.33am and 11.50am and Sturgess was taken to Salisbury district hospital. Paramedics returned at 6.47pm when Rowley, 45, also fell ill, and he was driven to the same hospital.

DCI Kathryn Barnes, of the south-east counter-terrorism unit, said: “It was initially believed that on admission both patients had been exposed to contaminated controlled drugs. However, it was soon established that both patients were exhibiting symptoms of organophosphate poisoning.

“This was the same symptomatology exhibited by two other individuals [the Skripals] first admitted to the same hospital on 4 March.”

Tests carried out by experts at the government’s Porton Down laboratory revealed the presence of novichok in the pair.

Quick guide
What is novichok?

Barnes said that on 12 July, during searches of Rowley’s address, a small glass bottle was recovered that was later found to contain novichok. Police were still trying to establish when the pair came into possession of the bottle, she said.

In a statement, Sturgess’s sister, Stephanie, said she had visited her sister in the hospital’s intensive care unit and confirmed her identity to the police. On the evening of 8 July, medical staff told her they were gong to turn off Sturgess’s oxygen supply, which was likely to result in her death. She told how she had said goodbye to her sister before leaving.

The inquest was told that Sturgess’s body was kept under guard before being placed in a sealed body bag and taken under guard to a facility where two pathologists undertook the postmortem on 14 July.
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/201 ... g-suspects


Novichok: Murder inquiry after Dawn Sturgess dies


The couple touched a contaminated item with their hands but police have not identified the source
Police have launched a murder inquiry after a woman exposed to the nerve agent Novichok in Wiltshire died.

Dawn Sturgess, 44, died in hospital on Sunday evening after falling ill on 30 June.

Charlie Rowley, 45, who was also exposed to the nerve agent in Amesbury, remains critically ill in hospital.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia was "deeply concerned" about the incident - but said accusations that it was involved are "absurd".

The UK government previously blamed Russia for the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with Novichok in Salisbury in March. Russian authorities denied any involvement in the poisoning.

Investigators say the possibility that the two cases are linked is a "clear line of inquiry".

Theresa May said she was "appalled and shocked" by the death of mother of three Ms Sturgess, from Durrington.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid will chair a meeting of the government's emergency committee Cobra later today.

A post-mortem examination of Ms Sturgess is due to take place and her family has been informed, police said.

What are Novichok agents?
Amesbury poisoning: What we know so far
What happened to the Skripals?
The investigation is being led by detectives from the Counter-Terrorism Policing Network and about 100 detectives are working on the case alongside Wiltshire Police.

Officers are still trying to work out how Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley were exposed to the nerve agent - although tests have confirmed they touched a contaminated item with their hands.

Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the head of UK Counter-Terrorism policing, said: "This is shocking and tragic news. Dawn leaves behind her family, including three children, and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this extremely difficult time.

"The 45-year-old man who fell ill with Dawn remains critically ill in hospital and our thoughts are with him and his family as well."

Mr Basu said the death "has only served to strengthen our resolve to identify and bring to justice the person or persons responsible for what I can only describe as an outrageous, reckless and barbaric act".

He said: "Detectives will continue with their painstaking and meticulous work to gather all the available evidence so that we can understand how two citizens came to be exposed with such a deadly substance that tragically cost Dawn her life."


Footage shows Ms Sturgess in Salisbury days before her collapse
Dr Christine Blanshard, medical director at Salisbury District Hospital, where Ms Sturgess died, said it was "desperately sad" and she expressed condolences to her family.

She said: "The staff here at Salisbury District Hospital worked tirelessly to save Dawn. Our staff are talented, dedicated and professional and I know today they will be hurting too.

"They did everything they could."

Mr Rowley is also being treated at the hospital.

A police officer who was tested for Novichok poisoning was given the all clear.

'Murderers'

Mrs May sent her "thoughts and condolences" and said officials were "working urgently to establish the facts".

She said: "The government is committed to providing full support to the local community as it deals with this tragedy."

British diplomat Julian King, the European Commissioner responsible for the EU's security union, said: "Those behind this are murderers."

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: "This desperately sad news only strengthens our resolve to find out exactly what has happened."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he was "shocked", adding: "A full and thorough police investigation must now establish the facts, provide support to the local community and bring those responsible to justice."

FlatsGetty Images
The couple collapsed at a flat on Muggleton Road in Amesbury on 30 June
Public Health England said the risk to the general public "remains low".

Professor Paul Cosford said: "As a precaution we still advise the public not to pick up any strange items such as needles, syringes or unusual containers."

He also said people in five locations between 22:00 BST on 29 June and 18:30 on 30 June should continue to follow advice, namely: "Wash your clothes in a washing machine and to keep your items double-bagged and securely fastened, if they are dry-clean only."

Those locations are Muggleton Road, Boots pharmacy and the Baptist church in Amesbury, and John Baker House and Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury.

Baroness Scott, the leader of Wiltshire Council, said the residents of John Baker House - the hostel where Ms Sturgess lives - have been rehoused and are being given support.

Map
Presentational white space
'Unwilling victim'

Angus Macpherson, Wiltshire police and crime commissioner, said he was "horrified and appalled".

He said: "Ms Sturgess was an innocent member of the public who should have been able to go about her daily life without becoming an unwilling victim in such an unprecedented, international, incident."

Analysis

By BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner

The working hypothesis is that the pair became contaminated after touching a poison container left over from the March attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

The death of Dawn Sturgess, a British citizen on British soil, now changes the investigation to a murder inquiry, with all the diplomatic and security ramifications that carries.

Britain has been blaming Moscow for the original attack in March, saying there is no plausible alternative to the Kremlin having ordered the assassination attempt.

Russia has denied any involvement, suggesting instead this was the action of a weak British government looking to undermine the success of the current World Cup being hosted by Russia.

The next few days are likely to see further accusations and counter-accusations.

The poisoning of the Skripals, both of whom spent weeks in hospital before being discharged, was blamed by the UK government on Russia.

Russian authorities denied any involvement.

Mr Skripal, 66, is a Russian former double agent. He was accused by Russia of spying for Britain's MI6 and jailed in 2006. He was later pardoned and allowed to settle in the UK.

After the hospitalisation of Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley, Mr Javid accused the Russian state of using Britain as a "dumping ground for poison".

The Russian Embassy hit back, accusing the government of trying to "muddy the waters" and "frighten its own citizens".

Yulia SkripalGetty Images
Yulia Skripal and her father Sergei were exposed to Novichok in Salisbury in March
Russian media has suggested alternative explanations of what happened in Amesbury, including claims the UK government staged it because it is finding the World Cup "hard to swallow" or to disrupt the Russia-US summit on 16 July.

According to BBC Monitoring, other theories in the media include the claim that Porton Down or a former employee of the research lab are to blame, or the Amesbury couple poisoned themselves.

In a statement, the Met Police said the possibility the poisoning of the Skripals and Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley are linked is a "clear line of inquiry".

A spokesman said the investigators are "not in a position to say whether the nerve agent was from the same batch that the Skripals were exposed to".

He also said: "There is no evidence that (Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley) visited any of the sites that were decontaminated following the attempted murders of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March."
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-44760875



Novichok victim found substance disguised as perfume in sealed box

Charlie Rowley claims nerve agent that killed his partner was boxed and wrapped up

Kevin RawlinsonFirst published on Tue 24 Jul 2018 14.26 EDT
The British man poisoned with the nerve agent novichok has claimed the substance that killed his girlfriend and left him critically ill came in a bottle disguised as a legitimate perfume in a sealed box.

Charlie Rowley claimed his partner, mother-of-three Dawn Sturgess, fell ill within 15 minutes of spraying the bottle, which he said he had found, on to her wrists at his home in Amesbury, Wiltshire.

In his first interview since he was discharged from hospital, Rowley told ITV News: “I do have a memory of her spraying it on her wrists and rubbing them together.

“I guess that’s how she applied it and became ill. I guess how I got in contact with it is when I put the spray part to the bottle ... I ended up tipping some on my hands but I washed it off under the tap.

“It was an oily substance and I smelled it and it didn’t smell of perfume. It felt oily. I washed it off and I didn’t think anything of it. It all happened so quick.

“Within 15 minutes, Dawn said she had a headache. She asked me if I had any headache tablets. In that time she said she felt peculiar and needed to lie down in the bath. I went into the bathroom and found her in the bath, fully clothed, in a very ill state.”

Counter-terrorism detectives are working on the theory that the poisoning of Rowley and Sturgess at the end of last month is directly linked to the poisoning of the Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury in March.

Experts from the top secret research facility at Porton Down in Wiltshire are trying to establish if the novichok was from the same batch.

But if Rowley is correct about the perfume bottle being boxed and sealed, it may undermine the line of inquiry that the novichok that he and Sturgess came into contact with had been discarded by the attackers of the Skripals.

It also opens up the possibility that there may yet be more novichok that has not been found in Wiltshire.

Rowley said he had found a sealed box in a cellophane wrapper containing a perfume bottle some days before he and Sturgess fell ill, and had kept it at his home in Amesbury, eight miles north of Salisbury, before handing it to his partner of two years as a gift.

He said he was struggling to remember where he had originally found the item but was convinced it was legitimate, as it looked like it hadn’t been used, “Which made me think it was quite safe,” he said.

Rowley also said it was a perfume that Sturgess recognised. “It’s very strange. It’s quite scary to think that something can be disguised in that manner and left to be found in public.

“It looked expensive, unfortunately it turned out to be a bad find.”

He added: “I’ve lost so much. I feel very sad about what happened to her; it’s awful and shocking. I was still on medication when they told me she passed away. I don’t think I will ever be able to get over it.”

He felt the burden of responsibility, but attacked whoever left the bottle of novichok lying around in public. “I think it was very irresponsible for people to leave the poison for anybody to pick up. It could have been children. It was just so unfortunate. I’m very angry at the whole incident,” he said.

Rowley’s revelations prompted concern at a public meeting in Salisbury to discuss the poisonings on Tuesday evening.

Paul Mills, deputy chief constable of Wiltshire police, said it was “critical” to find out if the novichok was from the same batch. He said: “The investigation is focused on how, when and where Charlie and Dawn came into possession of the bottle.

“Searches are continuing at various locations as officers look to identify other potential sites or sources of contamination.”

He refused to speak in detail about Rowley’s claims. “We’re aware Mr Rowley has decided to conduct an interview as is his right. This is a multifaceted investigation. It’s very sensitive and the counter-terrorism network has been clear from day one that we’re not going to conduct an ongoing dialogue in relation to the investigation as it would be inappropriate to do so.”

Mills confirmed that police still believed the Skripals came into contact with the novichok that they were poisoned with on Skripal’s front door handle.

Rowley’s claims led the leader of Wiltshire council, Lady Scott, to repeat the warning that people should not pick up items. “If you haven’t dropped it then don’t pick it up,” she said.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/201 ... lie-rowley


The British woman killed by nerve agent reportedly sprayed it on her wrists because it looked like perfume


Dawn Sturgess, the British woman killed by the nerve agent novichok, may have sprayed it on herself from a perfume bottle.
A member of her extended family said Sturgess sprayed an odd-smelling substance from a bottle on her wrists not long before she fell ill.
Charlie Rowley, Sturgess's partner, recounted the moment in a phone call with his brother, which he described to MailOnline .
Police have confirmed that novichok was found in a "small bottle" in Rowley's home near Salisbury, Wiltshire.
Rowley cannot remember where the bottle came from, his brother said.
The perfume scenario conforms to a theory that Sturgess was collateral damage from an assassination attempt on former spy Sergei Skripal earlier this year.
The British woman who was killed by the nerve agent novichok was exposed by unwittingly spraying perfume laced with the substance onto her own wrists, according to a new interview.

Dawn Sturgess sprayed the odd-smelling substance onto herself shortly before displaying symptoms of nerve agent poisoning, according to Matthew Rowley, the brother of Sturgess's partner.

Rowley recounted the claim in an interview with MailOnline , saying that his brother Charlie Rowley had told him what happened.

Charlie Rowley was also exposed to novichok, but has made a partial recovery and is now conscious.

Rowley told MailOnline:

"My brother told me that he remembered that Dawn had sprayed the perfume on both her wrists. He doesn't recall much of what happened afterwards but that particular detail is stuck in his mind.

"He also mentioned that he vaguely recollects there being an odd ammonia-type smell from the perfume.

"We don't know yet if he had direct contact with the nerve agent like Dawn appears to have done or whether it was after he had touched her. ...

"I've asked him where he and Dawn picked up the bottle of perfume. Was it in Elizabeth Gardens or somewhere else in Salisbury? But he just cannot remember yet."

The London Metropolitan Police, who are leading the investigation, previously said the poison was found in a "small bottle" in Charlie Rowley's home in Amesbury, Wiltshire. They declined to comment when asked by Business Insider whether it was a perfume bottle.

Sturgess and Rowley were found collapsed hours apart on June 30, when they were immediately taken to the nearby Salisbury District Hospital, where the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were also taken after they collapsed from nerve agent poisoning this March.

British investigators currently believe that the Skripals were most probably poisoned by current or former agents of Russia's military intelligence service, also known as the GRU, The New York Times reported last week , citing unidentified intelligence officers from the UK and US.

Charlie Rowley being taken into an ambulance after being found critically ill from nerve agent poisoning.
ITV News/Twitter
Matthew Rowley's claim that Sturgess and his brother had been poisoned after unwittingly picking up the perfume bottle around Salisbury supports the theory that the couple were collateral damage from the assassination attempt on the Skripals .

Salisbury MP John Glen told BBC radio the couple may have come into contact with the bottle because of their "habit of looking into bins".

It is not clear yet whether the Novichok that poisoned Sturgess and Rowley were from the same batch as the one used on the Skripals.

Britain previously accused Russia of being behind the assassination attempt on the Skripals. Russia has repeatedly denied it.

Police have sealed and cordoned off many parts of Salisbury after Sturgess and Rowley's poisoning.
Jack Taylor/Getty Images
Sturgess died in hospital on July 8 , while Rowley recovered from critical to a "serious, but stable" condition on July 11.

Matthew Rowley told the MailOnline that his brother was "beside himself with grief" and "very, very angry" upon learning about Sturgess' death.

"When I spoke to him yesterday he was shouting 'they've killed my girlfriend, they've killed my girlfriend,'" Matthew Rowley said.
https://www.businessinsider.com/novicho ... ume-2018-7



Novichok that killed woman came from bottle, police believe

Object found in Amesbury home of Charlie Rowley held nerve agent, officers say

Steven MorrisFirst published on Fri 13 Jul 2018 12.22 EDT
The investigation into Russia’s suspected use of novichok in Britain intensified after police found a bottle containing the military-grade nerve agent in a Wiltshire home where a British couple fell ill after being poisoned by it.

Counter-terrorism officers in protective suits found the container – believed to have contaminated Charles Rowley and killed Dawn Sturgess at a property in Amesbury, Wiltshire on or around 30 June – after six days of searches.

The Guardian understands tests show both Sturgess and Rowley handled the bottle with their right hands.

Quick guide
What is novichok?

Investigations continue on several fronts. Police have been trying to discover how the bottle and nerve agent got there, while chemical weapons experts at Porton Down were testing the substance to see if it was from the same batch as used in Britain four months earlier – a finding that carries huge diplomatic implications.

Sturgess, 44, died on Sunday, around nine days after she and Rowley, 45, were exposed to novichok. Police believe the nerve agent that contaminated the couple was discarded during the March attempted assassination of the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in their Salisbury home. Skripal has been regarded by Vladimir Putin’s regime as a traitor for selling state secrets and then defecting to Britain.

Scientists hope there will be enough novichok left in the bottle for them to determine whether it came from the same batch used in the Skripal attack. They will compare whatever is left in the bottle with a small sample recovered from the door of the Skripal’s home. They now have small quantities from both incidents in their possession.

If the samples are found to be from the same batch, it would mean whomever ordered and carried out the Skripal attack would be suspects in the murder investigation launched after Sturgess died in hospital.

Britain believes those who tried to murder the Skripals were under the control and direction of the Russian state. The criminal inquiry and diplomatic implications only seem to be growing after the discovery of the bottle containing the novichok in Rowley’s home.

The Guardian understands that experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will be invited to Britain to check if the findings that Rowley and Sturgess were poisoned by novichok and other key findings are correct.

It would be a prelude to putting further pressure on Moscow with the March novichok attack leading to the expulsion of Russian diplomats by Britain and other countries as a show of outrage against the Putin regime’s use of the nerve agent in the territory of a sovereign country.

Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command have been leading the investigations into the nerve agent poisonings.

On 29 June Sturgess and Rowley were in several locations around Salisbury, including a homeless hostel where she lived. They travelled by bus to Rowley’s Amesbury home where they are believed to have spent the night.

The following day they both fell ill, with police announcing on 4 July that Porton Down scientists had found the British couple had been exposed to novichok.

Searches began on 6 July of Rowley’s home and it was not until Wednesday that the bottle was discovered by officers, who were battling searing sunshine and protective suits to stop them being exposed to the lethal toxin.

In a statement announcing the discovery of the source of the novichok, police said: “On Wednesday 11 July, a small bottle was recovered during searches of Charlie Rowley’s house in Amesbury.

“It was taken to the defence, science and technology laboratory at Porton Down, Wiltshire, for tests.

“Following those tests, scientists have now confirmed to us that the substance contained within the bottle is novichok. Further scientific tests will be carried out to try to establish whether it is from the same batch that contaminated Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March – this remains a main line of inquiry for police.

“Inquiries are under way to establish where the bottle came from and how it came to be in Charlie’s house.”

Searches at other sites in Salisbury continue, including the homeless hostel where Sturgess lived and Queen Elizabeth Garden, a park where both had been the day before they fell ill. Police have not ruled out that other dangerous material may still be out there.

Rowley has recovered consciousness and has begun talking to detectives waiting by his bedside. He and Sturgess are believed to have handled the bottle, with novichok recovered from swabbing of their right hands.

Neil Basu, the head of UK counter-terrorism policing, said: “This is clearly a significant and positive development. However, we cannot guarantee that there isn’t any more of the substance left and cordons will remain in place for some considerable time. This is to allow thorough searches to continue as a precautionary measure for public safety and to assist the investigation team.

“The risk to the public in Salisbury and Amesbury remains low. We have not seen any further cases of illness linked to this incident. As a precaution Public Health England continues to advise the public not to pick up any strange items such as syringes, needles, cosmetics or similar objects made of materials such as metal, plastic or glass.”
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/201 ... ce-believe
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Re: Skripal: Theresa May set to hit back Russia over spy att

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:12 pm

Any comment or analysis on this latest wave of MI5 propaganda?
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Re: Skripal: Theresa May set to hit back Russia over spy att

Postby JackRiddler » Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:22 pm

It's all bullshit and ass-coverage from blowhards, except the one we already knew about old Skripal working as a consultant on the side (big fucking deal) and the hardly surprising fact that German spy agencies, along with probably 30 other state and quasi-state actors, including Porton Down, have had access to "Novichok" for going on 30 years?
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Re: Skripal: Theresa May set to hit back Russia over spy att

Postby Belligerent Savant » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:13 pm

.

Excellent job, then, presenting such tripe here for all of us to observe the pap that passes for news/reporting in the mainstream press.

I mean, that's the sole reason such crap is pasted here, right?
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Re: Skripal: Theresa May set to hit back Russia over spy att

Postby Elvis » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:17 pm

Wombaticus Rex » Thu Aug 02, 2018 9:12 am wrote:Any comment or analysis on this latest wave of MI5 propaganda?


For one thing, it's been very effective on its target audience.
"Frankly, I don't think it's a good idea but the sums proposed are enormous."
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Re: Skripal: Theresa May set to hit back Russia over spy att

Postby JackRiddler » Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:52 am

I sense an irony there, Elvis. I doubt it's meant jackshit in affecting opinions on this case in the UK. Less than the Russian Conspiracy Hysteria has affected opinions in the US.
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Re: Skripal: Theresa May set to hit back Russia over spy att

Postby Elvis » Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:06 pm

No irony intended, just my impression from mostly people I know IRL. I was disappointed when one very intelligent, usually well--informed friend could not fathom why UK might blame Russia even if Russia didn't do it. Stuff like this is also effective:

Image

Image
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Re: Skripal: Theresa May set to hit back Russia over spy att

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:02 am

Image


POISON IN THE SYSTEM
Post by seemslikeadream » Wed Jun 14, 2017 8:45 am

When a financier dropped dead in Britain shortly after exposing a vast Russian crime, police said it was not suspicious. But with his inquest now underway, BuzzFeed News has uncovered explosive evidence of a suspected Kremlin assassination plot – and a secret assignation in Paris on the eve of his death – that the British authorities have sidelined.

Image
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=40564




Who Poisoned Alexander Litvinenko? Radioactive thallium link
Post by seemslikeadream » Tue Nov 21, 2006 9:49 am

Image

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=9355




brekin » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:30 am wrote:
brekin wrote
where serious journalist are routinely murdered


List of journalists killed in Russia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_j ... _in_Russia

The dangers to journalists in Russia have been well known since the early 1990s but concern at the number of unsolved killings soared after Anna Politkovskaya's murder in Moscow on 7 October 2006. While international monitors spoke of several dozen deaths, some sources within Russia talked of over two hundred fatalities.[1] The evidence has since been examined and documented in two reports, published in Russian and English, by international organizations.

А wide-ranging investigation by the International Federation of Journalists into the deaths of journalists in Russia was published in June 2009. At the same time the IFJ launched an online database[2][3] which documents over three hundred deaths and disappearances since 1993. Both the report Partial Justice[4] (Russian version: Частичное правосудие[5]) and the database depend on the information gathered in Russia over the last 16 years by the country's own media monitors, the Glasnost Defense Foundation and the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations.



8bitagent » Thu Jun 13, 2013 2:02 am wrote:So uh, is RT covering the batshit crazy anti gay shit going off in Russia?
I have friends I talk to all the time who live in Russia, it's the kind of place we can only hope and pray America never gets even 1/100 like when it comes to violence, poverty, corruption, tyranny, etc.

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