Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Craig Murray on the small matter of Boshirov and Petrov’s Visas


The Incredible Case of Boshirov and Petrov’s Visas


24 September, 2018

The Metropolitan Police made one statement in the Skripal case which is plainly untrue; they claimed not to know on what kind of visa Boshirov and Petrov were travelling. As they knew the passports they used, and had footage of them coming through the airport, that is impossible. The Border Force could tell them in 30 seconds flat.
To get a UK visa Boshirov and Petrov would have had to attend the UK Visa Application Centre in Moscow. There not only would their photographs be taken, but their fingerprints would have been taken and, if in the last few years, their irises scanned. The Metropolitan Police would naturally have obtained their fingerprints from the Visa Application.
One thing of which we can be certain is that their fingerprints are not on the perfume bottle or packaging found in Charlie Rowley’s home. We can be certain of that because no charges have been brought against the two in relation to the death of Dawn Sturgess, and we know the police have their fingerprints. The fact of there being no credible evidence, according to either the Metropolitan Police or the Crown Prosecution Service, to link them to the Amesbury poisoning, has profound implications.
Why the Metropolitan Police were so coy about telling us what kind of visa the pair held, points to a wider mystery. Why were they given the visas in the first place, and what story did they tell to get them? It is not easy for a Russian citizen, particularly an economically active male, to get past the UK Border Agency. The visa application process is very intrusive. They have to produce evidence of family and professional circumstances, including employment and address, evidence of funds, including at least three months of bank statements, and evidence of the purpose of the visit. These details are then actively checked out by the Visa Department.
If they had told the story to the visa section they told to Russia Today, that they were freelance traders in fitness products wanting to visit Salisbury Cathedral, they would have been refused a visa as being candidates for overstaying. They would have been judged not to have sufficiently stable employment in Russia to ensure they would return. So what story did Petrov and Boshirov give on their visa application, why were they given a visa, and what kind of visa? And why do the British authorities not want us to know the answer to these questions?
Which brings us to the claims of neo-conservative propaganda website Bellingcat. They claim together with the Russian Insider website to have obtained documentary evidence that Petrov and Boshirov’s passports were of a series issued only to Russian spies, and that their applications listed GRU headquarters as their address.
There are some problems with Bellingcat’s analysis. The first is that they also quote Russian website fontanka.ru as a source, but fontanka.ru actually say the precise opposite of what Bellingcat claim – that the passport number series is indeed a civilian one and civilians do have passports in that series.
Fontanka also state it is not unusual for the two to have close passport numbers – it merely means they applied together. On other points, fontanka.ru do confirm Bellingcat’s account of another suspected GRU officer having serial numbers close to those of Boshirov and Petrov.
But there is a bigger question of the authenticity of the documents themselves. Fontanka.ru is a blind alley – they are not the source of the documents, just commenting on them, and Bellingcat are just attempting the old trick of setting up a circular “confirmation”. Russian Insider is neither Russian nor an Insider. Its name is a false claim and it consists of a combination of western “experts” writing on Russia, and reprints from the Russian media. It has no track record of inside access to Russian government secrets or documents, and nor does Bellingcat.
What Bellingcat does have is a track record of shilling for the security services. Bellingcat claims its purpose is to clear up fake news, yet has been entirely opaque about the real source of its so-called documents.
MI6 have almost 40 officers in Russia, running hundreds of agents. The CIA has a multiple of that. They pool their information. Both the UK and US have large visa sections whose major function is the analysis of Russian passports, their types and numbers and what they tell about the individual.
We are to believe that Boshirov and Petrov were GRU agents whose identity was plainly obvious from their passports, who had no believable cover identities, but that neither the visa department nor MI6 (which two cooperate closely and all the time) knew they were giving visas to GRU agents. Yet this information was readily available to Bellingcat?
I do not know if the two are agents or just tourists. But the claimed evidence they were agents is, if genuine, so obvious that the two would have been under close surveillance throughout their stay in the UK. If the official story is true, then the failures of the UK visa department and MI6 are abject and shameful. As is the failure to take simple precautions for the Skripals’ security, like the inexplicable absence of CCTV covering the house of Sergei Skripal, an important ex-agent and defector supposedly under British protection.
A further thought. We are informed that Boshirov and Petrov left a trace of novichok in their hotel bedroom. How likely is it, really, that, the day before the professional assassination attempt, which involved handling an agent with which any contact could kill you, Boshirov and Petrov would prepare, not by resting, but by an all night drugs and sex session? Would you really not want the steadiest possible hand the next day? Would you really invite a prostitute into the room with the novichok perfume in it, and behave in a way that led to complaints and could have brought you to official notice?
Is it not astonishing that nobody in the corporate and state media has written that this behaviour is at all unlikely, while scores of “journalists” have written that visiting Salisbury as a tourist, and returning the next day because the visit was ruined by snow, would be highly unlikely?
To me, even more conclusively, we were informed by cold war propagandists like ex White House staffer Dan Kaszeta that the reason the Skripals were not killed is that novichok is degraded by water. To quote Kaszeta “Soap and water is quite good at decontaminating nerve agents”.
In which case it is extremely improbable that the agents handling the novichok, who allegedly had the novichok in their bedroom, would choose a hotel room which did not have an en suite bathroom. If I spilt some novichok on myself I would not want to be queuing in the corridor for the shower. The GRU may not be big on health and safety, but the idea that their agents chose not to have basic washing facilities available while handling the novichok is wildly improbable.
The only link of Boshirov and Petrov to the novichok is the trace in the hotel room. The identification there of a microscopic trace of novichok came from a single swab, all other swabs were negative, and the test could not be repeated even on the original positive sample. For other reasons given above, I absolutely doubt these two had novichok in that bedroom. Who they really are, and how much the security services knew about them, remain open questions.



This version would explain their behavior in Salisbury and over the years far better than either 'fitness coaches' or 'GRU agents'

Andrei Grachev

Originally written by Andrei Grachev on his Facebook page. The post was deleted by Facebook because it allegedly violated its rules. 

Over the past month, there have been multiple versions and speculations in the Western mainstream media on the identity of alleged “GRU agents” Petrov and Boshirov and their involvement in the Skripals poisoning case. The text below is another speculation on this issue, which is now circulating in the Russian social media.

Petrov and Borishov. This is an unspoken version. It’s simpler than it seems.

Well, since all and sundry are wondering who are these two, and so do I. However, as for me, I’m closer to the truth? Why? You’ll have to read on. There are many words, but it will be interesting.


My version explains almost all key oddities with the trip and interview of Petrov and Boshirov (to the extent that it can do it, based on the publicly available facts), where, I must say: I did not even bother much, in the sense that everything necessary for the conclusions is plain to see. The fact is that the banter about gays and other things, everyone who examines the versions, for some reason did not notice the main thing, the details. Also, I should say if someone really believes that the Skripals were poisoned by these two, my musings will greatly disappoint you. Moreover, no one can forbid you to believe it or in reptilians or eat shit by the shovelful, but my fabrications are for thinking people, so, adepts of the theory of “GRU poisons all”, just walk on by. I will also note that my version is likely to disappoint many others, because it does not apply to super-agents, missions impossible or other stupid Hollywood crap. My version is about ordinary people’s ordinary lives. And, as a rule, it is usually much simpler and more prosaic. Although quite curiously, accidental.

So. Very briefly on key and (in fact) most important facts.
  1. Two strong, athletic guys, of a mature age, successfully passed all the procedures for obtaining a visa to the UK (not the easiest story), fly to London on a regular flight, without luggage (this is an important point). (According to Scotland Yard, it turns out that the GRU agents were carrying the most toxic combat nerve agent on the planet in a perfume spray-bottle, in a bag, in the cabin. What a twist.)
  2. In London, they stay at the City Stay Hotel, which is far from the main attractions. The place is not touristy. At the same time, the hotel is not the cheapest; there are easier options nearby. This hotel, relatively speaking, is in the average price range. Petrov and Boshirov opt for a double room.
  3. They go to Salisbury twice. First on the 3rd, and then they went back the next day, the 4th. According to them, due to weather conditions. Allegedly, they could not see Stonehenge on the first day. And on the second day they didn’t get much luck. With that, from the point of view of the main facts, their story seems to correspond to the truth, in the sense that the weather was so-so and, in principle, and to look at this unfortunate minster, truly people come from all over the world (Google the analysis of the facts from Craig Murray – everything is there and many interesting things.)
  4. According to Theresa May and Scotland Yard, Petrov and Boshirov were recorded by cameras “in the immediate vicinity of the Skripal house”, but in fact 500 metres away. Half a kilometre is two or three blocks. Blimey “the close proximity”…
  5. After that, hell begins with the poisoning, in which Scotland Yard is already confused.
  6. On the 4th, out heroes slowly return to London, and quietly fly off to bloody Mordor to tell Sauron about the assignment.
  7. Then the international scandal begins. Then our [Russian] Foreign Affairs Ministry and government media voiced versions, one stranger than the other. Then there are photos of “GRU agents”. The intensity of idiocy in the versions from the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian media is growing. Then, the British announce their names. Then there is a telephone conversation with Petrov-From-Hell on RT. Then Putin at the “East Forum”… And by the way, did anybody, find anything strange in Putin’s answer? No? Okay, let’s continue.
  8. After Putin’s comments, ON THE SAME DAY (!) Petrov or Boshirov call Margarita Simonyan on her mobile phone, which, yes, is really not very difficult to find, if you really want to, but the trouble is, she does not pick up the phone from unknown numbers (people checked).
  9. On the same day, an interview is arranged, where a conversation takes place BEFORE in which the boys and Margarita discuss the “taboo” subjects (family, work, friends, etc.) and maybe something else, but we’ll never know, and I do not really care.
  10. In the interview, every thing is beautifully covered: Salisbury Cathedral, snow collapse, we are not GRU, we sell sports drinks, we do not carry women’s spirits because it is homosexual, but we live in the same address, because it saves money and everyday household expenses, no, we are not GRU, yes we often fly to Geneva, because the Mont Blanc is there and Paris is not far.

These are all the facts you need to know to figure out who these guys are and why the hell they dragged themselves to the UK.

So, the short summary:

Two healthy guys, often flying to Geneva, openly arrive with their passports on a regular flight to the UK without luggage, settle in one room in an average hotel, go to Salisbury, then go there a second time, then fly back.

And here I have my questions.
  1. Why do they fly so obviously and expose themselves? The task of the liquidator is to be invisible, and here are two bulls, flying in pair from Russia in the midst of aggravation of relations between Russia and the “civilised world”…
  2. Why are they so healthy? You don’t have to be healthy to poison someone. Quite.
  3. Why do they fly together? It takes one to poison someone. Support from the locals.
  4. Why do they frequently fly to Geneva? Do they also poison someone there? Why do they also fly there together? Why do they hang out together as if joined at the hip?
  5. Why do they have the same address? Gay? Seriously?
  6. Why did they really go to Salisbury twice? To look at the “Salisbury” Cathedral… Well, well…
  7. How did they get through to Simonyan? Why so fast. Why Petrov-from-hell on the phone and the real Petrov in the interview are different people?
  8. What does Putin’s strange phrase mean in his answer to Brilev’s question at the Forum?
And when I answered these questions, I knew who they were. And here now is the real thing.

So, our heroes, of course, are not GRU, not FSB and not special agents. In the past, likely our guys were not ordinary, maybe spetsnaz, and maybe GRU in the past, but currently, most likely, as Putin said, civilians. They work in the economic Security Services for some big shot (oligarch, official of just a large company). For simplicity I, from now on, will call him/her the Owner. It will be easier.

They often go to Geneva. Of course, not to climb on Mont Blanc (as Boshirov calls it), but because Geneva is the capital of Switzerland, and Switzerland is the place where, by a strange coincidence, a lot of Swiss banks hold sacred the mystery of the deposits. Truth is not for the US intelligence services, but it does not matter, the main thing is that for our fiscal authorities it will be very difficult to get this information. And it is surprising that by an equally strange coincidence, Albion is one of the largest financial centres. The shares of the majority of publicly owned Russian companies are quoted on the LSE; the number of investment funds, trusts, investment banks and all sorts of laundering and flushing counting houses are simply off the charts. Ask Chichvarkin, he knows.


It is important to understand that our heroes cannot carry cash. They do not smuggle their haul through the Russian Federation borders. They do not transport it. But they carry it with them… Documents. Only a few sheets of paper with an original signature and the seal of the Owner. These are documents of a kind that cannot be sent by mail, cannot be sent electronically. Only originals and only in person. These documents are veeeery valuable. Contracts, invoices, power of attorney, etc., and, very likely extremely “close” properties… 
 
They need to be protected but they cannot carry with them the weapons and special equipment, even if shooting is allowed, you will not take it abroad. That is why they are healthy, and, most likely hand-to-hand fighter (Boshirov has a broken nose, he’s the “basher” and Petrov, I think, is a sambo wrestler or some such). Without weapons and special equipment, all they can count on is their skills and abilities to do everything with bare hands and improvised means. Therefore, they fly everywhere together for security reasons. One can be quickly put out of action, and pick up the documents, but two, and especially trained, it is almost impossible, only with a gun and muzzle, and that is something else. Especially because you do not know which of the two has what you need.


They flew to Britain officially, because they are not agents of anyone. They really got visas, passed all checks and flew. They did not take their luggage, because, of course, they did not fly for a tour and vacation, they flew on business, and all that they needed, they carried directly with them. Just a few sheets of paper. They did not carry anything, on its face, illegal, and certainly no poison. Idiocy…

They rented a room for two for the same security reasons. When there are two of you in a room, you can’t be safely disarmed. There will be a fierce mess, the outcome of which is not predetermined. Also, you can sleep in shifts. Moreover, there is nothing extraordinary about it. I personally know a couple of people in the ‘90s who transported any valuables under personal responsibility (cash, mostly), I have heard plenty of such stories, and it’s a horror.

Next, on the first day they went to Salisbury to give someone the documents, and on the second, they picked up the documents. I would venture to suggest that they came to someone to put his signature and seal. On the first day, they gave the documents, the recipient read them, checked, signed, countersigned and the next the guys took the documents and quietly left for home.

Thus, although they observe basic safety rules, they behave quite naturally, and not as two morons who cosplay Jason Bourne. Drink coffee and shop around depending on the weather.

The strange reaction of the Foreign Ministry and the media becomes clear. When all this hysteria began, we of course quickly figured them out, audited them, and were reported to those in the need to know. There was nothing special to give to the airwaves. Well guys, couriers, they flew, they went, they are civilians… That’s all. We must understand that our officials simply could not say in response: “No, they are not poisoners, they are employees of the security service of the company “Public Corporation Success”, the main owner of which is Ivanov Ivan Ivanovich, yes the same from the “Forbes” list, but it seems like the Kremlin is connected, but it’s not exactly, yes, the papers were brought for laundering, and what? it couldn’t be done?”

The Owner was knocked on the head by the higher ups, they say, come on take the thread, f###ing Mavrodi. And all hell broke loose. First there was Petrov-From-Hell, who cannot get to the Altai Mountains. Probably, they thought it would work. But then Putin at the Forum gives Brilev: “we know who they are. I want to address them, let them appear and explain everything. IT WOULD BE BETTER FOR ALL.” This phrase immediately struck me as very strange. What does that even mean? Especially from the mouth of the Dark Lord… So that’s what he said, of course, it is not to them but to the Owner. And THIS phrase means the following: “There are no options, either they will appear themselves with an acceptable story, or we will have to reveal the real situation. No one needs the latter”. And so someone calls Simonyan’s mobile whose number was hammered in his or her phone, someone important enough, I guess. She picks up the phone, and they say: “Margarita, have you watched the Plenary today? Good. The guys are gonna call you … about the British question … set it up, okay?” And since she was notified, Margarita takes the call from an unknown number and arranges an interview. The guys did not have time to prepare. No one took a break (which would be logical, we agree), because the Owner did not know how much time he was given. In such cases, they act as quickly as possible.

That’s why everyone was so unnatural. For a person that never gave an interview, this entire situation is extremely stressful. And this is not the type of stress that such people are used to dealing with. This is a fundamentally new situation for them, they did not have time to adapt, operate in conditions of extreme uncertainty and high stakes. So Boshirov read from the sheet, hence “Salisbury Cathedral” and “Mont Blanc”, and so Bashirov was so angry (and he actually was just in a rage), Petrov atypically is quieter, but also everything drove him crazy.

And there you have it. That is the bottom line, two private courier-security guys, caught at the wrong time in the wrong place. It is likely that the story of grey money, perhaps in some parts even budgetary. No “Red Sparrows” or “Blue Doves”… And since their routes on which they travel are regular, one way or another, MI5 followed them from the beginning. Everyone knew that they would come, when and where they would stay. The rest is a matter of technique. The Skripal poisoning and these two guys are not connected. Well, only except the place and time. No motive, no modus operandi. But who poisoned Skripal, with what and why… This is a slightly different story. And by the way, it is not so interesting for me, because it is very crooked and thick…

Source: South Front

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