Friday, 25 May 2018

Yulia Skripal's scripted statement to media

Whose words was Yulia reading?



Off Guardian,
24 May, 2018

Yulia Skripal’s surprise video statement and walkabout yesterday has, as usual in this case, raised more questions than it has provided answers. The MSM has predictably addressed none of those questions and been content to simply air the video along with portions of her statement, laced with anti-Russian commentary and distorted summaries of the backstory (see here and here and here). 

Fortunately those in the alt media are free to try to do a little better.

Reuters broke the story, and claimed an exclusive, but have not yet clarified their bureau chief Guy Faulconbridge, whose name appears on the article actually, spoke to Yulia in person.

The strange prelude to the statement in which we see Yulia walking amongst foliage in a “secret location” as if she’s auditioning for a commercial or doing a promo for a true-movie about herself is surreal and bizarre. Why not a simple piece to camera? Why put her through the added ordeal of being taken to the woods somewhere and asked to wander about smiling? Are they trying to prove she’s ambulatory? Happy? free?

If so they have failed on two of the three counts. She doesn’t seem happy or even comfortable, and certainly doesn’t appear to be free to speak her own thoughts. Whose idea was it to film her in this location? How much duress was she under to comply.


Her statement is also very problematic. Allegedly it’s her own words, written by her in Russian and in English. But this remains highly debatable.


For one thing, the handwritten English version contains a sentence lifted straight from the previous statement made on her behalf by the Metropolitan Police back in April. The words “At the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services” appear in para two of that statement. And as you can see below these exact words are also in Yulia’s hand-written text from yesterday


This is curious, because the Met Police statement was pretty clearly not written by Yulia, but by a very fluent speaker of a certain kind of English official-speak. And it gets even curiouser when you add the fact the Russian words Yulia is speaking to camera are not remotely similar to the alleged “translation.” According to Craig Murray:
Of the Russian Embassy she said very simply “I am not ready, I do not want their help”. Strangely this is again translated in the Reuters subtitles by the strangulated officialese of “I do not wish to avail myself of their services”, as originally stated in the unnatural Metropolitan Police statement issued on her behalf weeks ago.
I do not wish to avail myself of their services” is simply not a translation of what she says in Russian and totally misses the “I am not ready” opening phrase of that sentence.

The Russian Embassy, UK agrees with this take:



View image on Twitter

The bottom line is that MI5 should expect better results from their translators - for 32K/year they should be able to write statements which sound more Russian.

Why would Yulia – or anyone – translate her own Russian words using the same exact phrase previously used by the Met Police, which doesn’t even convey the right meaning?

There currently seems to be only one plausible explanation doesn’t there – that these are NOT Yulia’s words. That the English version of her new statement came first and was based on the original one from the Met Police in April. This was then translated into Russian by someone – probably not Yulia – and read out by her to camera. Murray again:
My conclusion is that Yulia’s statement was written by a British official and then translated to Russian for her to speak, rather than the other way round.
I tend to agree. In fact, Yulia’s statement looks just like that – a statement – written up by a police officer trained in the phrasing of such things, and not an informal composition by a civilian in her non-native language who simply wants to put a few things straight. Here’s the entire thing:
The text of Yulia Skripal’s statement in English, allegedly in her own hand and her own words

I came to the UK on the 3rd of March to visit my father, something I have done regularly in the past”.
I have chosen to interrupt my rehabilitation”…”
Also I want to reiterate..”

Well, of course Yulia may have written these words and even managed to spell “rehabilitation” faultlessly – something beyond an awful lot of native-speakers. But under the circumstances a certain amount of scepticism is reasonable.

Altogether, whether her hand was holding the pen when those words were put to paper, it’s currently looking pretty unlikely she actually had anything to do with composing them. Far more probably she simply took dictation.

It may also be noteworthy that in this version of her statement, Yulia says she would like to go back to Russia some day, while the previous version, which she did not deliver in person, didn’t contain any such sentiment.

Are the authorities holding out the promise she may be sent home eventually? Is it her own free choice she isn’t going home now?

If you were Yulia’s family member watching the strange events of yesterday, how reassured would you feel right now?


Yulia Skripal and the Salisbury WUT 328

23 May, 2018

It was happy to see Yulia alive and looking reasonably well yesterday, if understandably stressed. Notably, and in sharp contrast to Litvinenko, she leveled no accusations at Russia or anybody else for her poisoning. In Russian she spoke quite naturally. Of the Russian Embassy she said very simply “I am not ready, I do not want their help”. Strangely this is again translated in the Reuters subtitles by the strangulated officialese of “I do not wish to avail myself of their services”, as originally stated in the unnatural Metropolitan Police statement issued on her behalf weeks ago.

I do not wish to avail myself of their services” is simply not a translation of what she says in Russian and totally misses the “I am not ready” opening phrase of that sentence. My conclusion is that Yulia’s statement was written by a British official and then translated to Russian for her to speak, rather than the other way round. Also that rather than translate what she said in Russian themselves for the subtitles, Reuters have subtitled using a British government script they have been given.


It would of course have been much more convincing had Sergei also been present. Duress cannot be ruled out when he is held by the British authorities. I remain extremely suspicious that, at the very first chance she got in hospital, Yulia managed to get hold of a telephone (we don’t know how, it was not her own and she has not had access to one since) and phone her cousin Viktoria, yet since then the Skripals have made no attempt to contact their family in Russia. That includes no contact to Sergei’s aged mum, Yulia’s grandmother, who Viktoria cares for. Sergei normally calles his mother – who is 89 – regularly. This lack of contact is a worrying sign that the Skripals may be prevented from free communication to the outside world. Yulia’s controlled and scripted performance makes that more rather than less likely.

It is to me particularly concerning that Yulia does not seem to have social media access. The security services have the ability to give her internet risk free through impenetrable VPN. But they appear not to have done that.

We know a little more about the Salisbury attack now:

Nobody – not Porton Down, not the OPCW – has been able to state that the nerve agent found was of Russian manufacture, a fact which the MSM continues to disgracefully fudge with “developed in Russia” phrasing. As is now well known and was reported by Iran in scientific literature, Iran synthesised five novichoks recently. More importantly, the German spying agency BND obtained novichok in the 1990s and it was studied and synthesised in several NATO countries, almost certainly including the UK and USA.

In 1998, chemical formulae for novichok were introduced into the United States NIST National Institute of Standards and Technologies Mass Spectrometry Library database by U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical and Biological Defense Command, but the entry was later deleted. In 2009 Hillary Clinton instructed US diplomats to feign ignorance of novichoks, as revealed by the last paragraph of this Wikileaks released diplomatic cable.


Most telling was the Sky News interview with the head of Porton Down. Interviewer Paul Kelso repeatedly pressed Aitkenhead directly on whether the novichok could have come from Porton Down. Aitkenhead replies “There is no way, anything like that could…leave these four walls. We deal with a number of toxic substances in the work that we do, we’ve got the highest levels of security and controls”. Asked again twice, he each times says the security is so tight “the substance” could not have come from Porton Down. What Aitkenhead does NOT say is “of course it could not have come from here, we have never made it”. Indeed Aitkenhead’s repeated assertion that the security would never have let it out, is tantamount to an admission Porton Down does produce novichok.

If somebody asked you whether the lion that savaged somebody came from your garden, would you reply “Don’t be stupid, I don’t have a lion in my garden” or would you say, repeatedly, “Of course not, I have a very strong lion cage?”. Here you can see Mr Aitkenhead explain repeatedly he has a big lion cage, from 2’25” in.



So the question of where the nerve agent was made remains unresolved. The MSM has continually attempted to lie about this and affirm that all novichok is Russian made. The worst of corporate and state journalism in the UK was exposed when they took the OPCW’s report that it confirmed the findings of Porton Down and presented that as confirming the Johnson/May assertion that it was Russia, whereas the findings of Porton Down were actually – as the Aitkenhead interview stated categorically – that they could not say where it was made.

The other relatively new development is the knowledge that Skripal had not retired but was active for MI6 on gigs briefing overseas intelligence agencies about Russia. This did not increase his threat to Russia, as he told everything he knows a decade ago. But it could provide an element of annoyance that would indeed increase Russian official desire to punish him further.
But the fact he was still very much active has a far greater significance. The government slapped a D(SMA) notice on the identity of Pablo Miller, Skripal’s former MI6 handler who lives close by in Salisbury and who worked for Christopher Steele’s Orbis Intelligence at the time that Orbis produced the extremely unreliable dossier on Trump/Russia. The fact that Skripal had not retired but was still briefing on Russia, to me raises to a near certainty the likelihood that Skripal worked with Miller on the Trump dossier.



I have to say that, as a former Ambassador in the former Soviet Union trained in intelligence analysis and familiar with MI6 intelligence out of Moscow, I agree with every word of this professional dissection of the Orbis Trump dossier by Paul Roderick Gregory, irrespective of Gregory’s politics. In particular this paragraph, which Gregory wrote more than a year before the Salisbury attack, certainly applies to much of the dossier.

I have picked out just a few excerpts from the Orbis report. It was written, in my opinion, not by an ex British intelligence officer but by a Russian trained in the KGB tradition. It is full of names, dates, meetings, quarrels, and events that are hearsay (one an overheard conversation). It is a collection of “this important person” said this to “another important person.” There is no record; no informant is identified by name or by more than a generic title. The report appears to fail the veracity test in the one instance of a purported meeting in which names, dates, and location are provided. Some of the stories are so bizarre (the Rosneft bribe) that they fail the laugh test. Yet, there appears to be a desire on the part of some media and Trump opponents on both sides of the aisle to picture the Orbis report as genuine but unverifiable.

The Russian ex-intelligence officer who we know was in extremely close contact with Orbis at the time the report was written, was Sergei Skripal.

The Orbis report is mince. Skripal knew it was mince and how it was written. Skripal has a history of selling secrets to the highest bidder. The Trump camp has a lot of money. My opinion is that as the Mueller investigation stutters towards ignominious failure, Skripal became a loose end that Orbis/MI6/CIA/Clinton (take your pick) wanted tied off. That seems to me at least as likely as a Russian state assassination. To say Russia is the only possible suspect is nonsense.

The Incompetence Factor

The contradiction between the claim that the nerve agent was so pure it could only be manufactured by a state agent, and yet that it failed because it was administered in an amateur and incompetent fashion, does not bother the mainstream media. Boris Johnson claimed that the UK had evidence that Russia had a ten year programme of stockpiling secret novichok and he had a copy of a Russian assassination manual specifying administration by doorknob. Yet we are asked to believe that the Russians failed to notice that administration by doorknob does not actually work, especially in the rain. How two people both touched the doorknob in closing the door is also unexplained, as is how one policeman became poisoned by the doorknob but numerous others did not.

The explanations by establishment stooges of how this “ten times more powerful than VX” nerve agent only works very slowly, but then very quickly, if it touches the skin, and still does not actually kill you, have struck me as simply desperate. They make May’s ringing claims of a weapon of mass destruction being used on British soil appear somewhat unjustified. Weapon of Upset Tummy does not sound quite so exciting.

To paint a doorknob with something that if it touches you can kill you requires great care and much protective gear. That no strangely dressed individual has been identified by the investigation – which seems to be getting nowhere in identifying the culprit – is the key fact here. None of us know who did this. The finger-pointing at Russia by corporate and state interests seeking to stoke the Cold War is disgusting.

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