may skripal
When I began writing about the Skripal case, I was moved to do so by three main considerations.

Firstly, I really am passionate for the truth, and whatever the truth happens to be in this case, I strongly desire it to be made manifest. It was clear to me fairly early on that this was not happening.

Secondly, I am also very passionate about concepts such as the rule of law, innocent until proven guilty, and the apparently quaint notion that investigations should precede verdicts, rather than the other way around. And so when I saw accusations being made before the investigation had hardly begun, verdicts being reached before the facts were established, I was appalled - appalled that this was happening in what we British pride ourselves is the Mother of Parliaments, and equally appalled that this meant the investigation was inevitably prejudiced and - pardon the expression - poisoned from the off.

Thirdly, the incident happened to have taken place pretty much on my doorstep, which made it of even more interest to me.

Nothing I have seen in the intervening time has persuaded me that my initial impressions were wrong. In fact, the whiff of rodent I first detected has only become stronger as time has gone on and the case has become - frankly - farcical. Not only that, but the reaction to the case has been simply incredible. For instance, the United States expelled 60 diplomats back in March, and more recently they have effectively declared economic war on the Russian Federation - all in response to unproven and inconsistent assertions of a botched assassination attempt against an old spy in a quiet Wiltshire City. Such a response ought to raise the suspicions of any sentient being that all is not what it appears.

I still do not have any clear idea of what happened on that day, but what I am certain of is that the official narrative is not only untrue, but it is manifestly inconceivable that it could be true. There are simply too many inconsistencies, too many holes and far too many unexplained events for it to be true. And whilst part of me would dearly love to leave this wretched case behind for a while, whilst it is still ongoing, and especially as it is now being used to push us even closer to the brink of war (economic warfare is often a prelude to military warfare), I find that hard to do.

What I would therefore like to do in a series of 10 short pieces over the next couple of weeks or so, is attempt to expose some of the very many holes in the official narrative. At the end of it, I may well put it all together into one PDF, so that it can be sent somewhere, where it can be completely ignored by those that matter. Enjoy!

Number 1: The Motive

In her speech to the House of Commons on 26th March, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, said this:
"In conclusion, as I have set out, no other country has a combination of the capability, the intent and the motive to carry out such an act."
For the purposes of this piece, I am not interested in her comments on capability or intent, but simply what she describes as "the motive".

The first question to be asked is this: What exactly does she mean by "the motive"? By including that definite article before the word "motive", she implies that there is only one "motive" - the motive - and that only one party - the Russian Federation - possessed this. Which is of course manifest nonsense. She might at that stage have said that they possessed "a motive", but without looking into what Mr Skripal was up to, and the contacts he had, she was in no position to state that they had "the motive".

Imagine the following scenario: A farmer called Boggis is found shot dead in his barn. It is known that a week earlier, he had a very public quarrel with another landowner, Bunce, about the boundaries between their lands, and that the two of them had to be separated before they came to blows. Could it be said of Bunce that he had "the motive"? Well, it would be reasonable to suggest that he had "a motive", but without looking into other circumstances and other characters connected with Boggis, it would be disingenuous to claim that he had "the motive" as if only he might have had one.

As it happens, Boggis had been committing adultery with the wife of another neighbouring farmer called Bean, and Bean had found out about this two days before Boggis was found dead. What now? Does Bean have a motive? Very possibly. So too might Boggis' wife. Perhaps even Bunce's wife. Who knows without examining the facts more closely?

And so herein lies the first whiff of rodent. Mrs May asserted that the Russian Federation possessed "the motive", implying that there was only one possibility, which is something that could only be ascertained by proper investigation of Mr Skripal, his circumstances and what he was up to. She therefore committed what is a most basic fallacy in the investigative process.

The second question to ask is this: she says she set out "the motive" in her speech, but what actually was that? Here is what she presented as the motive in her speech:
"We know that Russia has a record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations - and that it views some former intelligence officers as legitimate targets for these assassinations."
This won't do. Firstly, many countries have records of conducting state-sponsored assassinations, and not always against their own nationals. But secondly, the claim that the Russian Federation "views some former intelligence officers as legitimate targets for these assassinations" is not a motive. At best it is a claim, but it is not a motive. A motive for an attempted murder, such as this, would need to give a reason for carrying it out on that particular person at that particular time. Simply saying that they view some former intelligence officers as legitimate targets for these assassinations does not explain why they are supposed to have decided to assassinate this particular man, at this particular time, especially since they released and pardoned him in 2010. It also does not explain why they apparently decided to wreck all possible future spy swaps, since Mr Skripal had been part of such a deal, and assassinating him would put an end to such deals.

But the most important question to ask is this: are there any other parties with a possible motive for this crime? Even without a particularly careful investigation of the details of Mr Skripal's life, contacts and circumstances, I can say assuredly that there were. For instance, it is known - although woefully unreported because of a media ban - that Mr Skripal was connected to the man behind the so-called Trump Dossier, Christopher Steele. Personally, I am reasonably convinced that Mr Skripal had a hand in putting this dossier together, given his connections to Steele, and since it was almost certainly authored by a Russian "trained in the KGB tradition". Might this give a motive to some very powerful groups who are nervous about the origins and details of this dossier coming to light? Yes, of course. Then why is it not a line of possible enquiry? Answers on a postcard to the Department of the Blindingly Obvious.

In summary:
  1. Mrs May had no right to state that the Russian Federation had "the motive". The best she could have said at that stage, without taking other possibilities into account, was that they had "a motive".
  2. The motive she does present is particularly feeble and does not explain why the Russian Federation would have wanted Mr Skripal in particular dead, and at that particular time.
  3. Mr Skripal's recent activities indicate that there were others with possible motives to assassinate or incapacitate him.