The house!
The restaurant!
The luggage!
The car!
The front door!

Finding a nerve agent is hard.

And that’s ok – I don’t know anything about this stuff, so maybe it’s really difficult to do.

But if that’s the case, presumably the people that are experts, know this.

So when use of a nerve agent is suspected, maybe the first thing they would recommend is that we………….start an investigation?

Instead of what we did.

Which was to call a press conference and accuse Russia of an act of war.

But that’s not what I care about, at least not here.

What I care about is how our media have reported this case.

When it was said it was the house, they reported it. And that was fine, I guess.

Then when they said it was the restaurant, they reported it again.

Without question.

And then again and again and again they just…………reported it.

No questions, no criticism, no skepticism, no laughter, no mockery, no disdain, no calls for people to be sacked.

Which after all is their USUAL process, right?

But on this occasion they just repeated what they’d been told, over and over again.

They just parroted the government line. Repeatedly.

A government which has been caught lying about this kind of stuff quite a lot over the years. I presume we all remember the dodgy dossier?

So, what………..our media are just government mouthpieces now?

They have become PR agencies for the State?

Nerve agents worry me, but that worries me more.

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Bloke on M4
Member
Bloke on M4

“So, what………..our media are just government mouthpieces now?

They have become PR agencies for the State?”

I wouldn’t assume conspiracy. They’re PR agencies for everyone.

Southerner
Member

There’s no obvious way to spin this for global warming, antiTrumpism, Remain or plastics. Putin is all that’s left. There’s no other choice. Give the media a break.

Quentin Vole
Member
Quentin Vole

If there’s anyone out there who really believes there was a chance this nerve agent attack wasn’t Putin’s goons sending a loud and clear message to his opponents (and then ‘denying’ it with a broad grin and a wink) … please contact me, as I own a very nice bridge that I’m reluctantly forced to put on the market.

Tim Newman
Member
Tim Newman

I get the impression if you went to Russia with the knowledge you have of the place, you’d end up buying a bridge yourself. Probably the same one you own now, paying for it twice.

Quentin Vole
Member
Quentin Vole

I travelled extensively in the USSR, though I’ve never lived or worked in Russia. I’m open to alternative explanations of the facts that aren’t bonkers conspiracy theories (“it was fuggin’ MI6” © Mo Fayed), but so far I haven’t seen one. All you need do is explain – who, apart from Putin’s Russia, would benefit from this attack to an extent that would outweigh the devastating effects of being found out? No doubt there were others who would shed no tears over the death of Skripal, but why would they choose such an outre method (oh, of course, it was… Read more »

Tim Newman
Member
Tim Newman

There is a real possibility this was carried out by a rogue element of the Russian government beyond his control. There is a lesser possibility it was done by another country, hoping to finger Russia. Either is as likely as Putin “sending a message” to his opponents.

Quentin Vole
Member
Quentin Vole

I could accept that someone within (or some segment of) the Russian semi-state apparatus might feel that they could get into Putin’s good books by carrying out an unauthorised overseas assassination. But why would they choose such a cumbersome and potentially (fingers crossed for his survival) ineffective method, rather than simpler and more obvious options? Whereas Putin has form (with Litvinenko) for using a method that makes it crystal clear that only a state actor could be responsible.

Spike
Member

The reason we used to teach impartial investigative reporting was to keep political factions from “weaponizing” reporting, in their win-at-any-cost ethics. Now we teach Grievance Studies and reporter as community activist.

But “no mockery, no disdain” – That is not what we want. CNN’s Jake Tapper covers the White House not so much to discover any facts as to get in everyone’s face.

Spike
Member

I meant “Jim Acosta” above.

bloke in spain
Member
bloke in spain

Count me in amongst your potential bridge buyers, then. It’s becoming increasingly less clear who was responsible. For a start, one would expect “Putin’s goons” to be rather better at this sort of thing. Not leave the target alive, collateral damage & fingers pointing at Putin. If anything, the general incompetence has all the hallmarks of a SIS operation. Although heaven knows whose interests they work for, these days. Long time since it was the UK’s.

Quentin Vole
Member
Quentin Vole

To what end would the SIS (for heaven’s sake) carry out such an operation? To increase sanctions against Russia (hard to go much further than we already have)? To destabilise him at home (that’s worked well, hasn’t it)? Whereas the downside – if it were ever revealed to be SIS/CIA/Mossad/Illuminati – would be catastrophic. I’m not sure there’s been much evidence that this was incompetently handled. Lethal dosage for such chemical weapons isn’t exactly well established – they were designed for use in munitions, not assassinations. But those who did it would appear to have got clean away, which argues… Read more »

Tim Newman
Member
Tim Newman

Putin had motive and means, but the two don’t line up very well.

bloke in spain
Member
bloke in spain

“To what end would the SIS (for heaven’s sake) carry out such an operation? ”

Fits in with their long term agenda. Do as much damage to UK interests as possible. They are nominally under the FO, aren’t they?

Quentin Vole
Member
Quentin Vole

Sorry, I thought for a moment you were serious.

Diogenes
Member
Diogenes

Given that the only power known to have made novichok is Iran, the queue for your bridge is now longer

Rhoda Klapp
Member
Rhoda Klapp

If Porton can identify Novichok so quickly they must have a sample. After all they are the defence against chemical agents and it is their job to know what the threat is. None of the MSM seems to have asked about that. It would muddy the waters, because there is no reason to think ONLY Russia could do it but that is the narrative being pushed. I’d guess Porton has it, and Fort Detrick and any number of other players if they wanted. The problem here though is not whodunnit but why no other explanation is even considered. It fells… Read more »

Quentin Vole
Member
Quentin Vole

The composition of the Novichok family of agents is now public knowledge. It’s been said that most university chemistry departments could produce it. But (as with explosives), the problem isn’t in producing it – it’s producing, transporting and delivering it without killing yourself and a lot of bystanders. Putin gains from this act by sending a message to opponents overseas and allowing his propaganda machine at home to portray him as a strong leader standing up for his country. He clearly has no great concerns about the diplomatic blowback. Whereas other state actors see no benefit (they’ve nothing against the… Read more »

Rhoda Klapp
Member
Rhoda Klapp

A popular strong leader in a country where strong leaders are valued and who has control of the elections doesn’t stand in need of an image boost. Sending a message to opponents? They all know he can get them any time. It seems to me that this was meant to be clandestine, a street collapse billed as a heart attack or an undiscovered home collapse . Maybe it would have been missed if the daughter had not been there too. As it was it failed both to be undiscovered and to be lethal. Not to say that you can’t conclude… Read more »

Jason Lynch
Member

Given that the family of agents were developed in the Soviet Union and the *other* confirmed producer – once they had been debated – is Iran, it’s a short list of folk who could have access to the stuff (assuming, of course, it really is a Novichok family member) I also wonder how much of the media reporting is of official statements, how much is of “we got a few drinks into a policeman and he told us that…” and how much is of “someone says they saw someone in protective clothing swabbing the air vents of a car”. Being… Read more »

Tim Newman
Member
Tim Newman

This is pretty much what the American media did after the Las Vegas shootings, they just repeated whatever the government authority figure told them that morning, consistency or even curiosity be damned.

The best way to view the mainstream media these days is as the propaganda arm of the ruling classes. That is certainly consistent with what is described in this post.

Hallowed Be
Member
Hallowed Be

Huh? I’d rather reporters repeat (report?) what they have been told alongside who actually told them that, than have them try and do some deep level analysis and jeremy paxman on a plain news article. I mean yes its an investigation, if you are going to report it just report what’s happening, the findings and the conclusions and the reaction come when its complete.

Steve
Member
Steve

Quentin says: If there’s anyone out there who really believes there was a chance this nerve agent attack wasn’t Putin’s goons sending a loud and clear message to his opponents I believe there’s a good chance Putin had nothing to do with it. So far, all the British press has offered us is faith-based reporting. We’re supposed to just take the word of people who lied to us about Kosovo, Iraq, and Libya when they rolled out their latest politically convenient narrative. The possibilities as I reckon them are as follows: * Putin ordered the hit for inexplicable Slavic reasons… Read more »

Tim Newman
Member
Tim Newman

I could accept that someone within (or some segment of) the Russian semi-state apparatus might feel that they could get into Putin’s good books by carrying out an unauthorised overseas assassination. But why would they choose such a cumbersome and potentially (fingers crossed for his survival) ineffective method, rather than simpler and more obvious options? You’ve complicated your own question by begging another: I’m not saying anyone did it to get into Putin’s good books, if a rogue element of the Russian state did this it would not have been for this reason. Whoever did this wanted it to look… Read more »

Quentin Vole
Member
Quentin Vole

If some undercover Russian (group) is carrying out overseas assassinations and trying to pin it on the state, I don’t expect them to live very long.

NiV
Member
NiV

“Putin ordered the hit for inexplicable Slavic reasons of his own.” All of this speculation is essentially the same argument as asking why terrorists (like the IRA) use such ineffective and transparent methods. Why do terrorists attack airplanes, where all the security is? Why do terrorists go to all the difficulty, risk, and expense of acquiring guns and bombs when there are far easier, more effective, and more available means of killing lots of people? (Like nail up the fire exits and set fire to somewhere – cost: a hammer, nails, and a box of matches…) Why did the IRA… Read more »

Diogenes
Member
Diogenes

Niv thinks it was Putin who did it. The logic is bizarre. The IRA terror campaign in London in the 1990s was ineffective in terms of death but it was very inconvenient in terms of the train cancellations and the ring of steel. It did not result in an ambiguous death threat of this nebulous kind. So nebulous as not to constitute a threat.

Diogenes
Member
Diogenes

Quentin, how much is your bridge worth? I suspect you don’t even own a bridge or would know how to sell one

Quentin Vole
Member
Quentin Vole

Oh noes! You’ve seen through me, all right, squire!

Steve
Member
Steve

Why do terrorists attack airplanes, where all the security is? They largely don’t, these days. They plough lorries into pedestrians, strap nail bombs to their backs and go to concerts, try to murder people on the Tube. Going after planes is so 2001. But you’re assuming Putin, the democratically elected leader of a major country, has the same mentality as terrorists do. Maybe he does – I don’t know the guy. But this seems like a yuge big assumption. It runs into the same problem of *why?* Putin isn’t an insurgent, he’s establishment. It’s an unsatisfying explanation to claim “well… Read more »

NiV
Member
NiV

“But you’re assuming Putin, the democratically elected leader of a major country, has the same mentality as terrorists do.” at the same time as “Well, it turned out the Loyalist terrorists actually were, if not run by the British security services, often in close cooperation with them.” One of the most characteristic features of the lefty “anti-war” Galloway crowd was the way they would protest the innocence of, and give every benefit of the doubt to rulers like Stalin, Putin, Assad, Saddam Hussein, Yasser Arafat, and so on, but believed the British and American governments capable of any nefarious atrocity,… Read more »

Quentin Vole
Member
Quentin Vole

Putin can essentially be thought of as capo di tutti capi of the Russian mafiosi. He has a record as long of your arm of dealing with political opponents, inquisitive journalists (and simply people whose wealth he fancies taking) by assassination, throwing into jail on trumped-up charges or simply ‘disappearing’ them*. In doing so, he’s simply following in the footsteps of every Russian ruler since the first tsars. This doesn’t mean he can ignore public opinion (any more than can a mafia boss in Sicily) – on the contrary, he cultivates it quite assiduously, greatly assisted by the fact that… Read more »

Spike
Member

Putin also operates a vast bureaucracy. The assertion that Putin authored the assassination is not rebutted by the fact that the chemical was different and the attack was uncharacteristically ineffective and unsecret, as these might have been the consequence of the agency that carried out his orders. Putin would not have specified what agent (both meanings) to use.