police line Salisbury novichok poison
My last two articles focused on some words of Yulia Skripal: one on the statement she read out on 23rd May in her "interview" with Reuters, the other on a conversation she had with her cousin, Viktoria, on 4th July. My view is that these two statements, when read very carefully together, blow the British Government's case to smithereens.

However, I'm not sure that I have done a very good job conveying why I believe this to be so in those pieces. And so I want to give it another attempt. Forgive me for any repetition and labouring of points; the reason I do so is because I consider it to be HUGELY IMPORTANT to the whole case.

Here are the crucial points from the statement and the conversation:

23rd May - In her statement, Yulia said the following: "I still find it difficult to come to terms with the fact that both of us were attacked" [my emphasis].

4th July - In her call to her cousin, Viktoria, it appears that she has no idea that the British Government has accused the Russian Government of the attack, since she:

a) Pins the blame for the publicity around the case on her cousin, rather than the fact that one state apparently used a chemical weapon on the territory of another, and

b) States her desire to return to Russia as soon as possible, which would of course be unthinkable if she thought the Russian Government was to blame.

If we put these things together, we can draw a number of conclusions:
  1. On 23rd May, Yulia was absolutely certain that she and her father were the targets of a nerve agent attack on 4th March.
  2. On 4th July, four months after the poisoning, she seemed to be blissfully unaware that the British Government had blamed the Russian Government for the incident.
  3. Therefore, it looks like those in charge of her welfare did not actually tell her that the Russian Government has been blamed for the attack, but deliberately kept this information from her.
The big question that arises from this is as follows:
Why did those handling her not tell her what the public has been told - that the Russian state was responsible for the attack on her and her father?
This question is absolutely fundamental. If their own narrative was correct, there could be absolutely no reason for withholding this information from her. In fact, it would be hugely beneficial for them to do so, since once she learnt that the Russian Government had tried to assassinate her and her father, it would have been easy to get her to put something along the following lines in her statements:
"I understand the British authorities have said that the Russian Government bears responsibility for this attack on my father and I. I condemn them unequivocally for this unprovoked and heinous attempt on our lives."
But of course she does no such thing. In fact, she does pretty much the complete opposite, firstly by being totally silent on the apparent guilt of the Russian Government, and secondly by stating her desire to go back to her homeland as soon as possible - something utterly unthinkable for someone who has been told the official claim about who attacked her and her father.

So let me repeat that fundamental question:
Why did those in charge of Yulia not tell her what the public has been told - that the Russian state was responsible for the attack on her and her father?
The answer is obvious. It's because Yulia knows who was likely to have been behind the attack on her and her father, and she knows that it wasn't the Russian Government.

This doesn't necessarily mean that she recognised the people who did it. Nor does it mean that she necessarily remembers how and where it occurred. No, it simply means that she knew that both her and her father were in danger, that she knew why this was so, and that she knew who - if anyone - might want them dead or incapacitated.

Think back to the day of 4th March. According to the police, both Sergei and Yulia caused their phones to be untraceable in the morning, which - as one or two commenters on this blog have pointed out - either means that they took the batteries out, or that they placed them in Faraday Bags. To go to the cemetery??? For four hours??? Who makes their phones untraceable to go to put flowers on a grave? Who, other than gravediggers, spends four hours in a cemetery? People who are involved in something potentially dangerous, which they do not want prying eyes and ears to see and hear, that's who.

Think back to Sergei's agitated state in Zizzis, which was not the result of nerve agent poisoning, since the witness who noticed it stated that he did not appear to be physically ill. Why was he so agitated then? Why was he in such a hurry to leave that he ordered the bill to come at the same time as the main course? Probably because he had to get somewhere by a certain time, but also, I believe, because he knew that he was in some kind of danger.

Add those two things - the untraceable four hours in a cemetery, and the agitation in Zizzis - to what happened afterwards, and it's very clear that something was up that day, well before the bench. It is clear that Sergei and Yulia were up to something, and whatever that something was, they knew it to be very dangerous.

Of course this doesn't fit with the British Government's narrative at all. Their narrative supposes an attack on a totally unsuspecting Sergei, with his daughter unfortunately getting caught up in it as well. Which is why they have imposed a blanket ban on the media reporting on what Sergei was really up to prior to 4th March. And even if they want to inject an element of Sergei and Yulia believing their lives were in danger from the FSB before 4th March, that doesn't figure for two reasons. Firstly, because Sergei would have informed the British Intelligence Services who would have been all over it to protect them, and who would probably have given him a new identity and resettled him. And secondly, if Yulia knew that the Russian Government had been out to get her father prior to 4th March, she would have mentioned in her statements that she believed it was on their orders that the attack took place.

But she doesn't. And that's because she knew what her father was involved in. She knew who might want him and her out the way. This is why she says in her statement on 23rd May that they were both attacked. And this is why as late as 4th July, she wasn't told the official narrative: because she would have known it to be utterly false.

Here are some questions for the British authorities:
  1. When Yulia Skripal made her statement to Reuters on 23rd May, was she aware of the claim of Russian Government culpability in the attack on her and her father on 4th March?
  2. If so, why does she not mention it or hint at it in her statement or her subsequent conversations with her cousin, Viktoria?
  3. If so, how on earth can she think that her cousin has been the cause of publicity around the case?
  4. If so, why does she tell her cousin that she wants to return to Russia soon?
  5. If she was not aware of the claim of Russian culpability on 23rd May, why was this information withheld from her?
  6. Can you categorically state that Yulia has now been told the nature of the British Government's claim?
  7. If so, does she actually believe it, and is she (or her father) prepared to make a public appearance confirming this?
Unless these questions can be answered satisfactorily, my suspicion will remain that the authorities looking after Yulia did not tell her what they've been telling us, and that this was because they knew that she knew it wasn't what really happened. And if she couldn't be prevailed upon to believe the claims of the British Government, why exactly should the rest of us?