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Old 14th March 2018, 02:20 PM   #241
Information Analyst
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
They may have already used this particular nerve agent before on British soil without it ever being detected. Maybe they thought they could use it again without detection.
And maybe this has joined some dots that could not previously have been connected?
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Old 14th March 2018, 02:24 PM   #242
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Originally Posted by mifune View Post
But what procedure is this? And what is it for?

Article IX section 2 refers to challenging another states certification, that is something else entirely to what the UK is doing. In time perhaps the UK will challenge Russia's certification of compliance with the treaty. But for now its entirely appropriate for the UK to do an investigation and take whatever police/diplomatic actions it thinks necessary to protect its citizens/reputation.

Russia is just trying to muddy the waters here.

Why no link to the article in question? It says exactly what Alexander Shulgin says it does and is about "Consultations, Cooperation and Fact-Finding". The mentioned paragraph 2:

Originally Posted by CWC
Without prejudice to the right of any State Party to request a challenge inspection, States Parties should, whenever possible, first make every effort to clarify and resolve, through exchange of information and consultations among themselves, any matter which may cause doubt about compliance with this Convention, or which gives rise to concerns about a related matter which may be considered ambiguous. A State Party which receives a request from another State Party for clarification of any matter which the requesting State Party believes causes such a doubt or concern shall provide the requesting State Party as soon as possible, but in any case not later than 10 days after the request, with information sufficient to answer the doubt or concern raised along with an explanation of how the information provided resolves the matter. Nothing in this Convention shall affect the right of any two or more States Parties to arrange by mutual consent for inspections or any other procedures among themselves to clarify and resolve any matter which may cause doubt about compliance or gives rise to a concern about a related matter which may be considered ambiguous. Such arrangements shall not affect the rights and obligations of any State Party under other provisions of this Convention.

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Old 14th March 2018, 02:28 PM   #243
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Originally Posted by mifune View Post
The thing about ex spies is there does seem to have been a longstanding convention not to target such people from any side. So something has changed, its not business as usual.
I don't believe that's actually true, though; any evidence of such a "gentlemen's agreement" is highly apocryphal - and in Russia's case not limiting anyway; KGB defector Nikolai Khokhlov was nearly killed by radioactive substance attack in Germany in 1957. If any such agreement existed, it might have been only between the US itself and the USSR, because Russians spying for the UK have been relatively fair game.

On the other hand, one could argue that what "changed" was Putin. The bulk of the high-profile Russian political assassinations, especially on foreign soil (Litvinenko, Roman Tsepov (in Moscow though), Yuri Shchekochikhin, Yushchenko was a big one) began shortly after Putin's first term started, although domestic killings of investigative journalists had been rampant since the 90's and continue unabated through the present day.
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Old 14th March 2018, 02:49 PM   #244
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Originally Posted by Information Analyst View Post
BBC News: Russian spy - UK to expel 23 Russian diplomats

"The UK will expel 23 Russian diplomats after Moscow refused to explain how a Russian-made nerve agent was used on a former spy in Salisbury, the PM says.

Theresa May said the diplomats, who have a week to leave, were identified as "undeclared intelligence officers".
I don't quite understand this move. Detention would be more appropriate, at least until Russia provides an effective antidote to the poison. That was also the Jordani reaction to the attempted Khaled Mashal assassination by the Mossad, and that worked.
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Old 14th March 2018, 02:50 PM   #245
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Originally Posted by Childlike Empress View Post
Why no link to the article in question? It says exactly what Alexander Shulgin says it does and is about "Consultations, Cooperation and Fact-Finding". The mentioned paragraph 2:
None of that has any bearing on what actions a state should take when it is attacked by another state with a chemical weapon. That paragraph is about one member of the treaty challenging another members certificate of compliance, in the context of complying with the treaty which bars the development and use of various types of chemical weapons.

I hope the UK does involve OPCW, I suspect they will in due time. But that is a separate and distinct thing from taking appropriate actions now in reaction to this incident.
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Old 14th March 2018, 02:53 PM   #246
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
I don't believe that's actually true, though; any evidence of such a "gentlemen's agreement" is highly apocryphal - and in Russia's case not limiting anyway; KGB defector Nikolai Khokhlov was nearly killed by radioactive substance attack in Germany in 1957. If any such agreement existed, it might have been only between the US itself and the USSR, because Russians spying for the UK have been relatively fair game.

On the other hand, one could argue that what "changed" was Putin. The bulk of the high-profile Russian political assassinations, especially on foreign soil (Litvinenko, Roman Tsepov (in Moscow though), Yuri Shchekochikhin, Yushchenko was a big one) began shortly after Putin's first term started, although domestic killings of investigative journalists had been rampant since the 90's and continue unabated through the present day.

You might be right, such things are naturally shrouded in secrecy and half truths so its difficult to get at the facts.
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Old 14th March 2018, 02:57 PM   #247
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
I don't quite understand this move. Detention would be more appropriate, at least until Russia provides an effective antidote to the poison. That was also the Jordani reaction to the attempted Khaled Mashal assassination by the Mossad, and that worked.
But then Russia would detain all the British diplomats in Russia, there is a reason diplomatic protocols exclude detention.

And AIUI there are no antidotes to the nerve agent. And also I am fairly sure Porton Down has accurately identified the compound, if there was an antidote they would likely not need Russia to provide it.
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Old 14th March 2018, 03:03 PM   #248
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Niki Haley is calling for actions against Russia in the Security Council, suggesting that Russia might use nerve gas in New York:

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/p...ns-in-new-york

Is Trump going to fire her, too?
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Old 14th March 2018, 03:33 PM   #249
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I do wonder what would happen if NATO stepped up its support for Ukraine.

After all, we're told that they're not fighting Russians, so there shouldn't be any chance of any diplomatic incident.
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Old 14th March 2018, 03:48 PM   #250
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
From that Wikipedia it looks as though the Italian Mafia could have been mixed up in that Litvinenko business. The British PC Plods just have an opinion, which is not evidence in law unless it comes from a real expert:
There was a trail of polonium contamination following the two key suspects movements including the flight they took. I know that you don't believe in Sherlock Holmes methods of deduction, but if someone is poisoned after meeting two people with a motive to kill him, and then you find a trail of the same poison wherever these two people went, then you have a pretty good idea that they are the prime suspects.

Similarly, we don't know what evidence Theresa May has seen.

Military-grade nerve agents are highly toxic, and thus difficult to make and handle safely, which limits the number of facilities that could make them. There are also possible chemical signatures. As well as this, there is other evidence - for example CCTV images.
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Old 14th March 2018, 03:51 PM   #251
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Originally Posted by mifune View Post
But then Russia would detain all the British diplomats in Russia, there is a reason diplomatic protocols exclude detention.
Does diplomatic protocol also apply to "diplomats" who are undeclared intelligence officers? Anyway, expelling them from the country does not help you get the murdered; in fact, you may expel the murderer. Might I add that British citizens have also been the victim of (attempted) murder here, not only a Russian defector and his daughter?

Originally Posted by mifune View Post
And AIUI there are no antidotes to the nerve agent. And also I am fairly sure Porton Down has accurately identified the compound, if there was an antidote they would likely not need Russia to provide it.
The Soviets/Russians have been working on these compounds for 40 years; they must have much more knowledge of effective treatment - or as effective as can be - than the, undoubtedly able, scientists in Porton Down.
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Old 14th March 2018, 04:02 PM   #252
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
The Soviets/Russians have been working on these compounds for 40 years; they must have much more knowledge of effective treatment - or as effective as can be - than the, undoubtedly able, scientists in Porton Down.
My understanding is that the antidotes are common drugs. The problem is they have to be administered in seconds so they are practically useless.
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Old 14th March 2018, 04:27 PM   #253
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
My understanding is that the antidotes are common drugs. The problem is they have to be administered in seconds so they are practically useless.
They can save a person's life but the later they're administered the more likely permanent, disabling effects become. In any case, before now, I don't think there's been any indication that people should be carrying around atropine like someone might carry around epinephrine for allergies.
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Old 14th March 2018, 05:08 PM   #254
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Originally Posted by mifune View Post
None of that has any bearing on what actions a state should take when it is attacked by another state with a chemical weapon. That paragraph is about one member of the treaty challenging another members certificate of compliance, in the context of complying with the treaty which bars the development and use of various types of chemical weapons.

Hahaha, you're trying to take it a step even further from May's dull false dichotomy that either "Putin" dunnit himself, or "lost control" of the stuff. You want us to believe that there aren't even any questions left.

Well, what did Shulgin say?

Originally Posted by Alexander Shulgin @ OPCW
Our British colleagues should save their propaganda fervour and slogans for their unenlightened domestic audience, where perhaps they will have some effect. Here, within the walls of a specialised international organisation, such as the OPCW, one must use facts and nothing but the facts.
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Old 14th March 2018, 05:11 PM   #255
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
Does diplomatic protocol also apply to "diplomats" who are undeclared intelligence officers? Anyway, expelling them from the country does not help you get the murdered; in fact, you may expel the murderer. Might I add that British citizens have also been the victim of (attempted) murder here, not only a Russian defector and his daughter?
It definitely does, and historically a lot of diplomatic staff are usually intelligence officers (this is true for all countries).

IMO detaining Russian diplomats (at least without catching them red handed in a criminal act) would break all previous diplomatic norms and would result in British diplomats being seized in Russia, and likely widespread international condemnation of the UK. I don't see the upside.

And what would the UK do with these detained diplomats? Unless there are criminal charges, which requires evidence linking specific individuals to crimes etc. then there is no legal basis to seize them anyway. The UK government is not going to take them as hostages.

Originally Posted by ddt View Post
The Soviets/Russians have been working on these compounds for 40 years; they must have much more knowledge of effective treatment - or as effective as can be - than the, undoubtedly able, scientists in Porton Down.
The whole point of nerve agents is they quickly do irreparable damage. There are some counter agents that reduce the effect of the nerve agent but they have to be more or less pre adminstered to be effective. I honestly don't think there is much Russia could do to help the affected people now even if it wanted to.
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Old 14th March 2018, 05:22 PM   #256
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Originally Posted by Childlike Empress View Post
Hahaha, you're trying to take it a step even further from May's dull false dichotomy that either "Putin" dunnit himself, or "lost control" of the stuff. You want us to believe that there aren't even any questions left.

Well, what did Shulgin say?
Huh? Not even wrong

It is not the OCPW's role to investigate an assassination attempt using a nerve agent. That investigation is currently ongoing by UK authorities.

If the UK wants to challenge Russia's certificate of compliance with OCPW then they will forward the relevant evidence to OCPW at that time.

Shulgin banging on about OCPW now is just dis information, and trying to give a legitimacy to their stalling and obstruction. And fodder for the useful idiots/paid trolls etc. Obviously.
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Old 15th March 2018, 03:11 AM   #257
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
I don't quite understand this move. Detention would be more appropriate, at least until Russia provides an effective antidote to the poison. That was also the Jordani reaction to the attempted Khaled Mashal assassination by the Mossad, and that worked.
It seems in that case the Jordanians held the agents actually responsible for the attack. I would guess that if the UK knew that any of the 23 Russians were directly implicated, they wouldn't be expelling them.
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Old 15th March 2018, 03:15 AM   #258
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It looks to me as though Russian intelligence has information that the Syrian opposition criminals have been preparing for a false flag chemical weapons attack on the civilian population in Syria, which would give Israel and the United States a pretext to bomb Syria in support of the Syrian opposition in their war on Iran.

The Russians have discovered several chlorine gas dumps recently held by the Syrian opposition in East Ghouta, which have been blamed in the past on the Syrian army.

What seems to have happened, and the Russians may not have been aware of this, is that the terrorist chemical attack has been in Salisbury, UK, instead of Syria, so that the Russians can be blamed. Personally, I suspect Israel, or Turkey, or the Chechens. MI5 and MI6 need to get off their arses and seize the situation like a man instead of leaving it all to the PC Plods. They haven't got the brains. Corbyn is talking sense though even he may be ill-informed.

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Old 15th March 2018, 03:18 AM   #259
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The Mossad agents, AFAIK, didn't have diplomatic immunity. Even if the UK had identified an accredited member of the Russian embassy as the assassin, they probably wouldn't have been able to charge him without the blessing from Moscow.
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Old 15th March 2018, 03:29 AM   #260
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Back in the 80s a policewoman was killed by gunshots from the Libyan Embassy aimed at protestors outside
It was surrounded by Swat teams but they never went in. All the Libyan staff were expelled and the Embassy closed. but no one was arrested and no gun was recovered
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Old 15th March 2018, 03:51 AM   #261
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
Personally, I suspect Israel, or Turkey, or the Chechens.
Personally, I think Alien Space Bats are more likely than your choices.
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Old 15th March 2018, 04:22 AM   #262
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
It looks to me as though Russian intelligence has information that the Syrian opposition criminals have been preparing for a false flag chemical weapons attack on the civilian population in Syria, which would give Israel and the United States a pretext to bomb Syria in support of the Syrian opposition in their war on Iran.

The Russians have discovered several chlorine gas dumps recently held by the Syrian opposition in East Ghouta, which have been blamed in the past on the Syrian army.

What seems to have happened, and the Russians may not have been aware of this, is that the terrorist chemical attack has been in Salisbury, UK, instead of Syria, so that the Russians can be blamed. Personally, I suspect Israel, or Turkey, or the Chechens. MI5 and MI6 need to get off their arses and seize the situation like a man instead of leaving it all to the PC Plods. They haven't got the brains. Corbyn is talking sense though even he may be ill-informed.
How do claims of an impending chlorine gas attack in Syria morph into an actual attack with a nerve agent in the UK. Outside of ridiculous conspiracy theories, of course.
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Old 15th March 2018, 04:59 AM   #263
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Originally Posted by Information Analyst View Post
How do claims of an impending chlorine gas attack in Syria morph into an actual attack with a nerve agent in the UK. Outside of ridiculous conspiracy theories, of course.
Didn't you know that you have to prove Russian aggression beyond a reasonable doubt?
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Old 15th March 2018, 05:08 AM   #264
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They say Putin hasn't bothered to campaign in this election. I think they just failed to appreciate the full range of actions he's willing to use to boost his vote.
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Old 15th March 2018, 05:12 AM   #265
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Whenever these incidents occur there are always tit-for-tat expulsions of "diplomats" (a.k.a. spies). There always seem to be some "diplomats" that can be expelled so either there were thousands originally, or governments allow the numbers to creep back up to the original levels once the story has faded from the news.

The other thing the politicians always do is boycott (or at least talk about boycotting) some sporting event - world cup, olympics, or whatever: this always strikes me as rather mean spirited to the sportsmen and women affected who, of course, had no involvement and probably little interest in whatever political event inspired the boycott.

[/cynicism]
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Old 15th March 2018, 07:15 AM   #266
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I wouldn't want to be an English football fan in Russia for the World Cup later this year. Those Russian football hooligans are in a league of their own.

Meanwhile, I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that the perps - if they're ever identified - are not Russian at all and have no obvious Russian connections. The world must be full of heavies who are are prepared to freelance for Putin while being totally prepared to be thrown under the bus if they're nabbed. To get a little more CTist about it, it also wouldn't surprise me at all to find Russia throws them under the bus anyway to firmly pin the blame elsewhere and to make the UK, its allies, The U.N. and all the rest look stupid.
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Old 15th March 2018, 07:20 AM   #267
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Ouch:

Originally Posted by Business Insider
[...] After France initialed condemned the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter and expressed solidarity with Britain on Tuesday, French government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux on Wednesday said it was too early for Paris to decide whether action should be taken.

"We don't do fantasy politics. Once the elements are proven, then the time will come for decisions to be made," Griveaux told a news conference shortly after May said she was expelling Russian diplomats and suspending bilateral talks.

While he called the attack a "very serious act" on a strategic ally, Griveaux said France was waiting for "definitive conclusions" and evidence that the "facts were completely true" before taking a position. [...]
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Old 15th March 2018, 07:24 AM   #268
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
Meanwhile, I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that the perps - if they're ever identified - are not Russian at all and have no obvious Russian connections. The world must be full of heavies who are are prepared to freelance for Putin while being totally prepared to be thrown under the bus if they're nabbed. To get a little more CTist about it, it also wouldn't surprise me at all to find Russia throws them under the bus anyway to firmly pin the blame elsewhere and to make the UK, its allies, The U.N. and all the rest look stupid.

Don't worry Glenn, you can go more than a little bit CTist on this. As long as Putin is to blame in the end, of course.
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Old 15th March 2018, 07:59 AM   #269
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Originally Posted by mifune View Post
But then Russia would detain all the British diplomats in Russia, there is a reason diplomatic protocols exclude detention.

And AIUI there are no antidotes to the nerve agent. And also I am fairly sure Porton Down has accurately identified the compound, if there was an antidote they would likely not need Russia to provide it.
There are nerve agent antidotes, usually atropine and diazepam, IIRC (sure on atropine, may have the other wrong).

However, they only help prevent some of the damage from the agent...they don't repair the damage already done to nerves.

And that's the problem. Think of it like an acid burn; you can apply a base or water to "nullify" the acid, but it doesn't repair the damage already caused.

ETA: Never mind, I apparently missed a page when I replied, and see you pretty well covered this in your post 255.

So I'll go back and stand in the "irrelevant" corner again. OR should I move over to the "too little, too late" table?

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Old 15th March 2018, 08:42 AM   #270
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Originally Posted by Childlike Empress View Post
Ouch:

Cheese-eating surrender monkeys
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Old 15th March 2018, 09:12 AM   #271
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Originally Posted by DreadNiK
Edited by jsfisher:  Moderated content redacted.
Don't get me wrong. I don't like Abramovich, or his Chelsea football club. Putin grew up in a Soviet administration with Russian courts, and Soviet justice and the Russian secret police. I don't approve of bumping off lawyers and journalists, even in America.

I still think Corbyn is right to say the Russians should be given a sample of this so-called Novichok under international law to check that it's theirs. You could perhaps say that Porton Down is responsible for all VX nerve agent murders because it was invented by them and that they have Novichok samples in order to increase their budget with the UK government.

I remember a few years ago a bomb went off at a peace rally of Kurdish students, and the Turkish air force then immediately flew off and bombed and killed many Kurds in the hills. That's not logical:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_...p_with_Kremlin

Quote:
Controversies[edit]
Roman Abramovich has been alleged to be involved in various wrongdoings. The Times said that Abramovich "famously emerged triumphant after the 'aluminium wars', in which more than 100 people are believed to have been killed in gangland feuds over control of the lucrative smelters.

Last edited by jsfisher; 16th March 2018 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 15th March 2018, 09:22 AM   #272
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There is nothing knew about false flags between Russia and Britain. This a Wikipedia about activities in the 1920s:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zinoviev_letter

Quote:
The damning document was published in the conservative British Daily Mail newspaper four days before the election.[7] The letter came at a sensitive time in relations between Britain and the Soviet Union, owing to Conservative opposition to the parliamentary ratification of the Anglo-Soviet trade agreement of 8 August.
The publication of the letter was severely embarrassing to Prime Minister MacDonald and his Labour Party.[8] Although his party faced the likelihood of losing office, MacDonald had not given up hope in the campaign. Following the letter's publication, any chance of an upset victory was dashed, as the spectre of internal revolution and a government oblivious to the peril dominated the public consciousness. MacDonald's attempts to cast doubt as to the authenticity of the letter were in vain, hampered by the document's widespread acceptance among government officials. He told his Cabinet that he "felt like a man sewn in a sack and thrown into the sea.

Last edited by Henri McPhee; 15th March 2018 at 09:23 AM.
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Old 15th March 2018, 09:25 AM   #273
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Well, the US administration is now officially accepting the UK's view of events.

I assume that is because the nerve gas attack was actually a CIA false flag operation?
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Old 15th March 2018, 09:28 AM   #274
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Originally Posted by Childlike Empress View Post
Don't worry Glenn, you can go more than a little bit CTist on this. As long as Putin is to blame in the end, of course.
I'm prepared to believe Putin didn't do it, but I'm with the French (and Corbyn) here - let's see the evidence.

However, if I were Putin aiming to bump off these people I'd make sure that I could show that 'my hands are clean' as far as is humanly possible.
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Old 15th March 2018, 09:31 AM   #275
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Originally Posted by Childlike Empress View Post
Ouch:
Well, I hate to disappoint you, but it looks like you might have been premature in gloating over any rift this might have created between Britain and France.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-br...-idUKKCN1GR0UY

"Britain, the United States, Germany and France jointly called on Russia on Thursday to explain a military-grade nerve toxin attack in England on a former Russian double agent, which they said threatened Western security."
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Old 15th March 2018, 09:33 AM   #276
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
I still think Corbyn is right to say the Russians should be given a sample of this so-called Novichok under international law to check that it's theirs.
Why? So they can just lie and say it's not theirs?

Quote:
You could perhaps say that Porton Down is responsible for all VX nerve agent murders because it was invented by them and that they have Novichok samples in order to increase their budget with the UK government.
You seem to have a very strange idea of how government departments operate. Porton doesn't need to get up to anything sneaky to attract extra money that it isn't getting already.
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Old 15th March 2018, 09:40 AM   #277
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
... if I were Putin aiming to bump off these people I'd make sure that I could show that 'my hands are clean' as far as is humanly possible.
Unless the whole point was not to kill this guy in particular but simply to make an example and leave a really obvious calling card to terrify your opponents while defiantly denying any involvement.

If the voters believe you did it you look like a badass who hunts down traitors, not giving a damn what the West thinks, and if they don't believe you did it, it looks like sinister foreign forces are plotting against Russia so they need a strong guy in charge to stand up to them. Win-win.
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Old 15th March 2018, 09:59 AM   #278
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Originally Posted by Information Analyst View Post
It seems in that case the Jordanians held the agents actually responsible for the attack.
Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
The Mossad agents, AFAIK, didn't have diplomatic immunity.
Indeed, and they had entered the country on forged Canadian passports.

Originally Posted by mifune View Post
IMO detaining Russian diplomats (at least without catching them red handed in a criminal act) would break all previous diplomatic norms and would result in British diplomats being seized in Russia, and likely widespread international condemnation of the UK. I don't see the upside.
During the Litvinenko affair, the British diplomatic staff was already subjected to harassment:
Quote:
It is not the first time diplomats have encountered problems in Russia. Britain's former ambassador Anthony Brenton was hounded for months in 2006 by members of a pro-Kremlin youth group after the murder of Alexander Litvinenko led to a spate of tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions between the UK and Russia.

Originally Posted by Information Analyst View Post
I would guess that if the UK knew that any of the 23 Russians were directly implicated, they wouldn't be expelling them.
Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
Even if the UK had identified an accredited member of the Russian embassy as the assassin, they probably wouldn't have been able to charge him without the blessing from Moscow.
Originally Posted by mifune View Post
And what would the UK do with these detained diplomats? Unless there are criminal charges, which requires evidence linking specific individuals to crimes etc. then there is no legal basis to seize them anyway. The UK government is not going to take them as hostages.
Of course you're right. But in case one is identified by the British police as the suspect, you certainly can't catch them when they're in Moscow, merrily drinking wodka with the killers of 200 of my countrymen. The big downside of diplomatic immunity is that it is a blanket invitation for abuse, most visible in the daily nuisance of parking-wherever-you-like and not paying the tickets, but also extending to more serious crimes up to and including murder, which have nothing to do with their diplomatic or associated spying mission.
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Old 15th March 2018, 10:11 AM   #279
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Originally Posted by ceptimus View Post
Whenever these incidents occur there are always tit-for-tat expulsions of "diplomats" (a.k.a. spies).
Or you can break off diplomatic ties. Last year in March, Turkey tried to sneak in a minister into the Netherlands to rally for the Turkish constitutional referendum, but the Dutch police caught her and after a hours-long stand-off managed to get her out of the country. That led to a diplomatic crisis where both countries have recalled their ambassador, a situation that continues until today.

In the case of the Khaled Mashal attempted assassination I mentioned before, Jordan threatened to revoke their peace treaty with Israel.
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Old 15th March 2018, 10:21 AM   #280
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Originally Posted by Jack by the hedge View Post
Well, I hate to disappoint you, but it looks like you might have been premature in gloating over any rift this might have created between Britain and France.

I hate to break it to you but I ninja'd you in disappointing me in #271.

Must have been another member of the shrinking reality-based community.
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