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World & Current Events > Russia Blamed for Chemical Weapons Attack in UK

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message 1: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 0 comments Sergei Skripal his daughter (and a Policeman) were poisoned by a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia according to the UK's Prime Minister in a formal statement. Russian Ambassador was summoned to Foreign Office and asked to explain how a Soviet developed chemical weapon ended up in the quiet cathedral city of Salisbury

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-43377856


message 2: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin The Kremlin may deny it all it wants, but such a military-grade nerve agent, developped by Soviet military arsenals, can be found only in one place: Russian government arsenals. Putin already has a quite long history of having his enemies and those he consider as traitors assassinated, by all means available and wherever they are. The problem is that anyone being honest and frank about it will call such acts near acts of war. If fact, that was basically what PM May said today in Parliament. I hope that she will show enough balls (sorry for the pun) to be firm with Putin and make him understand that there are limits not to be crossed.


message 3: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) I think Michel summed it all up nicely. Given the target and the nature of the attack, it would be ridiculous to think anyone else plotted this attack.


message 4: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5968 comments I don't think chastising Putin will have any impact or that he believes that there are very many lines he can't cross.


message 5: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Whatever happened to simply shooting someone in the head with an untraceable gun?

The state of spycraft these days is just appalling, fancy using an exotic method that paints a trail a mile wide back to the sponsor.

It's unthinkable.


message 6: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15369 comments Yes, it's 'highly likely' as May said, however as I understand the attack was primarily aimed at (former) Russian subjects. Not sure how connected this may be, but I heard some extracts from the film "Putin" released just recently towards the elections, where Putin is being asked whether he forgives things, so he answers something like "Yes, I can forgive certain things, but not - treason." Of course, it's not an accurate quote, just something I heard or read.
This and previous instances (polonium, Litvinenko) raise a whole slew of questions. How legitimate is liquidating "traitors" (if indeed that's what happened) and in this sense should Snowden, for example, always check his car's bottom every morning in Moscow?
It looks like the attack clearly meant not only punish but also to deter. Why to be so cruel, as to involve the family?
And how considerate is the practice of recruiting moles in hostile organizations when doing so is frequently tantamount to considerably shortening life expectancy of the collaborator?
BTW, how CIA, MI-s and other agencies treat traitors and defectors?


message 7: by Michel (last edited Mar 13, 2018 04:47AM) (new)

Michel Poulin Nik, the most important point for me about this is that Putin sent his assassins to a foreign country and used a weapon that endangered innocents (and also hurt a British cop and a daughter who never was in the spying business). By using a military-grade chemical weapon inside a foreign country, Putin has committed what could be called an act of war. I could imagine the response if this would have happened in the USA.

Also, Russia, like the USA, was supposed to have destroyed its stocks of chemical and biological weapons decades ago, according to a treaty both countries signed. So, how much of such weapons are still being hidden away in Russia? How much credibility can we still give to official declarations from Moscow after such lame denials and dumb conspiracy theories we just heard from Russia? in my opinion: zero. It is high time that we make the Russia bear back off and behave in a civilized way.


message 8: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15369 comments Michel wrote: "By using a military-grade chemical weapon inside a foreign country, Putin has committed what could be called an act of war...."

If there is a message in this, it's just to show how little fear of repercussions they have. Russia's often not exactly particular about sovereignty of other countries. Don't think this crude a scenario, if at all, would be implemented in the USA though.
Treaties are important, but mechanisms to verify their performance are even more so..


message 9: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11212 comments First, for Nik's question - I have no idea about MI6 but the CIA has carried out assassinations in foreign countries. That does not make this right, but let us square the discussion.

Second, Michel has simply jumped to a conclusion and is just plain wrong that Russia is the only possible source. The Novichoks are a family of chemicals made by reacting a phosphoryl halide with an amine. These come in a range of substitutions, and not all of them are as effective, but nevertheless there are a range of extremely dangerous ones. They were all developed, as far as I know, in the old Soviet Union, BUT they were dispersed. Uzbekistan made one sort, and I gather they were also in the Ukraine and a number of "Stans", and probably Belarus. So Russia is not the only possible source. They are also interesting in that I gather you can make the agent "on site" by mixing the chemicals.

If we go to motive, there I have a difficulty. Why would Putin do this. If he wanted to kill Skripal, he had plenty of opportunity previously. There are also less hazardous methods, as Graeme noted. Who else might have motive? Well, Scripal gave the names of a number of GRU agents to the West. Suppose one of those came out of prison with a grudge, and had the contacts to get some of this stuff that probably went missing from some of the Stans after the break-up of the USSR. I understand Lavrov has asked for a sample of this agent for analysis. Given that the different Novichoks were made in different places, is that a totally unreasonable request? It would at least enable the Russians to know where the material came from if they did not organise it, but I understand the British are not going to accede to this request. Even sending a mass spectrum of the agent would help, especially if it specified the machine and the conditions. (In detail, mass spectra are notorious for minor variations between machines due to different times of flight, but they are usually adequate to pick up the structure in sufficient detail.) If the British do not have a mass spectrum, how do they really know it is a Novichok?

Also, given that Britain is one of the most surveilled places, do we have any suspects? Sorry, but this is another one of those situations where I think we need to wait for further information. Yes, the Russians MIGHT have done it, but so might a number of others.


message 10: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin Ian, your arguments and suggestions are simply fallacious. Why Putin would do this and why this way? Simple: to make a very public example of Skripal and discourage others from betraying Russia.

About Great Britain being one of the most surveilled places, it may be correct about Downtown London. About a cathedral town like Salisbury, I am not so sure.

When the British said that the agent can be made 'on site' by mixing the chemicals, they were simply describing the way binary chemical weapons can be carried separately before being mixed just prior to their use. That did not mean that someone in England concocted both main ingredients in country.

As for your argument about 'mass spectrum', I believe that the British Army has a very well equipped chemical and biological laboratory tailor-made for just this job, along with very competent scientists and lab technicians.

Finally, taking in account the amount of times when Kremlin and Russian officials, not counting RT commentators, were caught in the past making white lies, plus the very public recent RT broadcasts where commentators smuggly warned that traitors will always pay one day for their crimes, makes me basically question anything coming officially from Moscow. Remember those anonymous soldiers in unmarked uniforms invading Crimea while Putin denied that they were Russians? Putin and his toadies simply can't be trusted, period!


message 11: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11212 comments Michel, I never denied the Russian government might be responsible, but merely that it is not definite.

As for surveillance in the UK, there is a TV show called "Hunted UK" where a number of amateurs go "on the run" for a month, and if they can avoid being caught, there is a prize of £100,000. They are pursued by "hunters" who have the surveillance resources of the UK at their disposal (they are also specialists at this). Believe me, hiding out in Salisbury would have you caught in no time. The program is quite an illustration of where your privacy has gone, if you live in the UK.

I never said both ingredients were made in the UK. However, the separate ingredients would be very difficult to detect at a border. The ingredients would require a skilled chemist to make them, and good laboratory equipment. The difficulty in getting the chemicals depends on how deep into the synthesis the chemist was prepared to go, but these agents could be made anywhere with appropriate equipment, which in turn is reasonably readily available.

I never said the British authorities did not have well-equipped laboratories. They would need a mass spectrometer to be sure what the agent was, and that is a reasonably common piece of equipment in an advanced chemical laboratory. Therefore they could hand over the output of their analysis.

I never said Putin could be trusted. What I said was that there are a lot of others who have motive, including those GRU agents Skribal handed over to the West while a senior GRU officer. After serving however many years in jail and getting out, would not revenge be a motive? Or the same dished out by a friend of one of the agents.

Yes, I recall Crimea. Do we need perpetual reminders? Given Kosovo, and the US intervention there in favour of greater Albania, or to annoy the Russians, why shouldn't the Russians acquire Crimea? The US broke the relevant international law first.


message 12: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin Ian wrote: "why shouldn't the Russians acquire Crimea? ..."

The Russians didn't just acquire Crimea: they invaded it, and in the most hypocritical way possible, with masked soldiers in unmarked uniforms. If you really support that kind of international behavior, Ian, then it becomes pointless to discuss this further.


message 13: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Ian wrote: "Michel, I never denied the Russian government might be responsible, but merely that it is not definite.

As for surveillance in the UK, there is a TV show called "Hunted UK" where a number of amat..."


Sounds like someone is suffering from a case of "whataboutism". At what point do we stop excusing Putin's crimes by bringing up the US own history of intervention of invasions, as if that is even relevant to what Putin is doing? At what point do we stop repeating Putin's own talking points - he's a master of "whataboutism" and even Trump and Moore have adopted them - and criticize a man who is by all accounts a criminal?


message 14: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Michel wrote: "Ian wrote: "why shouldn't the Russians acquire Crimea? ..."

The Russians didn't just acquire Crimea: they invaded it, and in the most hypocritical way possible, with masked soldiers in unmarked un..."


Don't forget how they then forced a referendum where their own soldiers were permitted to vote. For anyone to claim Russia's annexation of Korea was somehow legitimate is either incredibly naive or horribly misinformed.


message 15: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin You mean 'Crimea' instead of 'Korea' I suppose, Matthew?


message 16: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11212 comments From what I gather from Matthew's comment, we forgive everything the US does and blame Russia for doing something similar, and in fact milder. Why is one aberrant behaviour worse than another simply by who did it? Why is sending in soldiers and not firing a shot worse than bombing and shooting in Kosovo? It is a little like it is a great crime to be killing civilians by bombing Eastern Ghouta, but killing a few civilians in Mosul was just an unfortunate part of dealing with terrorists. (As an aside, eight months later they are still digging bodies out of the rubble. The numbers quoted (480 from memory) was at best terribly inaccurate.)

I am not saying Putin should be excused. I am saying (a) he should be judged on evidence, not assertion, and (b) he should be treated the same as any other leader doing the same thing. I believe justice has to be blind, and not swayed by who is the bigger or the stronger. If you do not agree with that, then no, there is no point in continuing the discussion


message 17: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15369 comments Agree with Ian that there are a lot of double standards and essentially the same actions may be praised or condemned depending on who's done it.
Contrary to Ian though and more aligned with other opinions, I personally think that in many cases Russia chooses to be on the wrong side of the history. It's for a reason Assad, Kim, ayatollahs are on friendly footing with Putin. They pretend to respect Syria's sovereignty and 'legit' to them ruler, while neglecting that of Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and many others. I don't think US may consider expanding on account of Canada or other neighbors, while Russia's neighbors feel a little differently and maybe rightfully so?
At that, I'm for a multi-polar world and not uni-polar with the States as global sheriff.
Specifically re the incident, if Litvinenko and/or Skripal were indeed executed for treason, the method, the involving of the family and the neglect for casualties belong to medieval times and to the same category as quartering and other methods abolished a while ago. People may argue re death punishment, but this intimidating atrocity I think goes beyond any kind of consensus..


message 18: by Michel (last edited Mar 14, 2018 04:30AM) (new)

Michel Poulin Ian wrote: "It is a little like it is a great crime to be killing civilians by bombing Eastern Ghouta, but killing a few civilians in Mosul was just an unfortunate part of dealing with terrorists...."

Nice try completely mischaracterizing what happened in Mosul. Civilians were killed there by American bombs and shells because ISIS made it their standard tactic of using innocents as human shields. When such tactics are used, civilian casualties are all but assured.

How about talking about the serial bombing of hospitals and medical facilities in rebel-held territory in Syria by Russian aircraft? Vladimir Putin doesn't give a hoot about innocent lives, never did, so let's stop trying to excuse him by deflecting constantly on past acts by others. We are talking here about the actions of Putin, a man who is obsessed with personal power and who is ready to do anything to stay in power.


message 19: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11212 comments Michel, nice try characterizing Mosul. In Eastern Ghouta the militants, essentially derivatives of al Qaeda, are using civilians as human shields. Exactly the same situation. As I understand it, Russia persuaded Assad to permit a corridor out of Eastern Ghouta for civilians who wanted to escape. The militants shelled anyone that tried, that is, they shelled their own human shields, while also sending mortar bombs into Damascus. Exactly what was Assad supposed to do?

Again, for me the issue is what is right and what is wrong is irrespective of who does it. As an aside, the past IS relevant. But for clumsy US intervention in the area, this modern horror would not occur. I am not saying the US intended this - it clearly did not, but someone has to clean up the mess, and nobody seems to know how to do it without making another mess down the road. I see it as a mire with no solution.


message 20: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11212 comments Nik, I agree that the means of dealing with Skripal was abhorrent, not because it was done in the UK - that is merely a question of law - but because it was uncontrolled, and totally innocent people were at risk, and indeed the policeman was a victim.

That leaves the question of what should be done about it. My view is the first thing to do is proper police work to try and find out who did it. While I agree the Russian state COULD have been responsible, there are equal possibilities. It does not hurt to get to the truth, particularly if the Russian state was not responsible, because that would open the only way of getting justice. If the Russian state was responsible, what exactly is the UK going to do? Right now they appear to have ejected some diplomats, but so what? The UK is rather toothless.


message 21: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin Ian wrote: "Michel, nice try characterizing Mosul. In Eastern Ghouta the militants, essentially derivatives of al Qaeda, are using civilians as human shields. Exactly the same situation. ..."

You are again deflecting, basically not denying my words about Mosul but skipping over them and raising the subject of Ghouta. You are obviously unwilling to discuss this in a honest manner and still find every excuse possible to not accuse Putin of the crimes he committed. Again, this is a thread about the role of the Kremlin in the chemical weapon attack in Salisbury, not a blame game about past American actions. If you want to discuss past bad actions by the Americans, then start another thread!


message 22: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11212 comments Michel, I did not deflect. My basic argument is that the same rules should apply equally. You argued that in Mosul: "Civilians were killed there by American bombs and shells because ISIS made it their standard tactic of using innocents as human shields. When such tactics are used, civilian casualties are all but assured." I merely pointed out the militants are doing the same in Eastern Ghouta.

You wrote: "this is a thread about the role of the Kremlin in the chemical weapon attack in Salisbury." You opened the door with the reference to Crimea, as if Putin's annexation there somehow proved he was guilty of what happened in Salisbury.

I have never found every possible excuse not to blame Putin. I have asked for evidence. Yes, Putin is a suspect, but there are others who might want to see Skripal dead, or worse. If you see that wanting to see the evidence is dishonest, then exactly how is jumping up and down accusing who you see as the prime suspect more honest?


message 23: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin This discussion is going nowhere. Continue this thread alone.


message 24: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11212 comments Moving on, the question is, what now? May has issued some sanctions, but she is a little limited because while Brexit is underway she has to follow EU law, although what that means is a little unclear to me. Will this do any good? The freezing of certain oligarchs' assets in the UK may well be doing Putin a favour, for all I know. The US has been stronger, being in a better position, but picking on the people Mueller indicted will probably be read as something that would have happened anyway. So, is this going to affect Russia? Leaving aside the question of whether Putin was responsible for the Salisbury incident, what do you think Putin will do next, on the assumption he wins the election? (I think that is one of the least risky assumptions in this game of power.)


message 25: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 0 comments Unfortunately nothing will happen except more anger. Although in some ways this was an act of war we will not go to war nor invoke Article 5 of NATO. Throw out some diplomats. Have angry exchanges then move on unless we can arrest Putin or indict him at The Hague nothing will happen.


message 26: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan I think Philips assessment is correct. There are few options available to the UK that don't result in reckless escalation.


message 27: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11212 comments Graeme wrote: "I think Philips assessment is correct. There are few options available to the UK that don't result in reckless escalation."

Which is why I thought May should wait until the police enquiry was concluded. In logic, either Putin ordered it or he did not. If he did, this is not going to bother him that much, and may even boost his electoral prospects. Russia standing up to the West. If he did not, he will be rightly irritated, and be less cooperative in the future. (I know, he is not exactly cooperative right now, but he could become less so.

Sanctions probably don't worry him. Russia's deficiencies in general do not involve resources but rather finished products and services, and sanctions in general help him if he wants to make Russia more self-reliant. Added to which, China is less likely to go with sanctions, and China is now the manufacturing engine room of the world, not the West.


message 29: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Michel, that is indeed what I meant. Didn't notice the damn auto-correct, somehow! Glad I'm not in any foreign policy positions, I could do some real harm ;)


message 30: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11212 comments Graeme, China most certainly won't care.

I also find something disturbing in the US announcement, where, according to a news item I heard, they announced sanctions etc against the Russian guys that Mueller indicted. I am happy to believe they are guilty, and what happened was probably going too happen anyway, but I find I disturbing that the sequence is, verdict, punishment, and sometime later, the trial. As I say, overall the outcome was probably inevitable, but does anyone else find this sequence disturbing? It bothers me that this is the start of a rather slippery slope.


message 31: by Graeme (last edited Mar 15, 2018 10:02PM) (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Extra-judicial sanctions - add it to the extra-judicial imprisonments and extra-judicial killings.

Extra-judicial actions it's all the rage in the modern imperium.

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We guarantee full alignment of your thought processes with government approved memes, pretty soon you will be hankering for a little extra-judicial action.

It's the action everyone wants.

(Message brought to your browser by Neo-Fascist Corporate Statism . com. Your friendly universal corporate presence.)


message 32: by Philip (last edited Mar 16, 2018 01:24AM) (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 0 comments Graeme wrote: "Extra-judicial sanctions - add it to the extra-judicial imprisonments and extra-judicial killings.

Extra-judicial actions it's all the rage in the modern imperium.

Got doubts about our governmen..."


Where do I apply - I have a quite a few on my list for extra-judicial action.

More seriously I am always concerned as per Ian's post regarding verdict and sentence before trial. We see this in the media especially in the US - not talking about Trump here - where the press have a far greater ability to talk about a criminal case and report it than in the UK. The UK despite some notable examples still mostly treats those accused as innocent until proven guilty. Another thread subject I suspect on its own.

In the case of the chemical weapons in UK no individual has actually been accused. A state has on the basis of chemical identification of the substance. The accusation lumped in with the personal references to Putin, is that either Russia ordered the attack (culpable and probable act of war) or that they are so incompetent they have lost control of the substance which should have been reported to the international organisations.

Ian rightly points out that the chemistry can be created by other players but given the specific chemical signature in the UK's statements this seems less likely. Smaples have apparently been given to the organisations concerned for analysis. This happened after Syrian attacks and took several months to resolve.

In the polonium, attack on Litvinenko we had exactly the same response from Russia with an again either culpable or incompetent. In that case there is an international arrest warrant and an identified suspect who is currently a serving member of the Russian Parliament. In other words Russia has form.

What will be very interesting now is how many others in how many other countries may have been treated the same way

Meanwhile Putin's re-election is a near certainty. One opposition leader is dead - gangsters allegedly. Another is forbidden to stand and a third is one of Putin's best friend's daughters. For those who can access see the BBC's Panorama report from inside Russia on the election. Under production before the attack in Salisbury

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09w85tc


message 33: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11212 comments Philip, you cannot tell where a chemical came from just by analysing it. (Exception - isotope analysis would tell you if it came from a different planet.) Russia is not the only place that could make a Novichok. Apart from a place to do it, I could probably do it. I would have to purchase the odd chemical, but since I own a chemical research company, that would not be particularly noteworthy. The point that I am trying to make is the structure of a chemical by itself does not indicate origin, other than, I suppose, plant-based products.

I don't think anyone seriously believes Putin won't be re-elected. There are actually more candidates, but as far as I can see, they have no show.

The Litvinenko case was, in my opinion, a better way to unravel it. Police procedure identified a suspect. The fact he is Russia makes it hard to go further, but the fact he can't even come up with an alibi convinces me that in this case the Russian state either ordered it or at least endorsed it. No argument on that one. The same conclusion may come from Salisbury, but I still think the police should be allowed to get on with their enquiries free of the press and free of politicians grandstanding.


message 34: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15369 comments In both cases of Skripal and Litvinenko it looks to me like a deliberately explicit, cruel and intimidating choice, clearly connected to Russia. So it's either Russia choosing to show how it punishes traitors, wherever they are, or it's designed to frame Russia. A big difference, I know


message 36: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15369 comments Possibly, however without a "traitor's" entourage


message 37: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11212 comments There is no doubt it is connected to Russia, but I still have this problem of motive. I would think ex GRU agents, or even rogue elements in the Russian military would have a stronger motive. The idea that Putin single-handedly controls everything is unlikely to be correct, and I can't see his motive, given he had Skripal in jail for several years and could have done whatever to him then. You may think he wanted to "set an example", but why this close to the world cup? If he really wanted to deal to Skripal, why not wait? Why run the risk of wrecking the biggest thing Russia has held? It just doesn't make sense to me.


message 38: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan And why use an exotic weapon, why not just shoot him?

Dead is dead, and still works as a warning without increasing other risks of 'blow back.'

Power operators such as Putin are usually good (to exceptionally good) at minimizing risks, for me the weapon choice remains unexplained.


message 39: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin Why use an exotic weapon that can easily point at Russia? Simple: to send a warning around at other enemies of the Kremlin and Putin. You don't need convoluted thinking to figure that out, most of the rest of the World has already done so.


message 40: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11212 comments The reason to use a Novichok is that if the victim survives, there is a good chance their subsequent life will be so miserable that they might wish they hadn't. Nerve damage can be permanent. Which is why I also give credence to the revenge hypothesis, but we shall have to wait and see what the evidence comes up with.


message 41: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Hi Michel,

However, using a chemical weapon can and will be construed as 'an act of war,' - whereas a bullet is just a murder. Criminal, but not overstepping the mark. So why would Putin want to buy into the risk of an 'act of war,' - I don't see the pay off for him.

People already know that he is a ruthless operator, having someone shot still reinforces that message.

So why would he buy into an 'act of war,' risk?


message 42: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Graeme wrote: "Hi Michel,

However, using a chemical weapon can and will be construed as 'an act of war,' - whereas a bullet is just a murder. Criminal, but not overstepping the mark. So why would Putin want to b..."


Aside from the fact that he thinks he can get away with it? Has he not already succeeded? The condemnation from Britain has been predictable, but the response from the US (their closest ally, whom they dare not act without) has been muted and confused. And let's not forget, Putin also risked war by invading the Crimea and supporting separatist forces in East Ukraine and taking unilateral action in Syria. And he's no stranger to poisoning personal enemies on foreign soil. This is hardly unprecedented behavior for him.


message 43: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Fair points Matthew. Perhaps it's simply a case that he knows that the UK can't or won't be able to do anything that would really hurt him.


message 44: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 0 comments We have the response. 23 diplomats out, closure of British Council cultural set up in Moscow and cancellation of permission to open consulate in St Petersburg


message 45: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin I hate to say this but Putin has more backbone than most Western leaders bundled together. We keep electing sissies!


message 46: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15369 comments Moreover, not only he's not afraid of often toothless vis-a-vis, but each act of bravado, defying or humiliating NATO or other, considered hostile to Russia, blocs inevitably results in Putin's growing popularity with a segment of population, believing in strong Russia.
One can condemn annexation of Crimea all s/he wants, but Putin's support peaked shortly thereafter. However, pretended strength built on internal and external fear and not on economic and social prosperity and success has its limits...


message 47: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11212 comments Somehow I don't see Trump as a sissie. Lying and irrational maybe, but not a sissie. The real problem here is what can you do? If you go to war, everyone dies, because at the end, whoever thinks he is going to lose, he fires the nuclear arsenal. Russia has enough to annihilate everyone, and anyway, nobody in the West has enough troops to win against Russia - Russia is simply too big to occupy and Russians have this pesky reputation for just dispersing into one of the cruelest climates and keeping going. So just what can they do?


message 48: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15369 comments A little humorous version would be - it's Putin avenging the death of Rasputin, according to one of the versions murdered by BSIS


message 49: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11212 comments 1. Re a previous question from Michel re surveillance in Salisbury, I heard a report that their police are reviewing 4,000 hrs of recordings. Given the known and rather narrow time slot, that suggests plenty of cameras. We can but hope they find something.

2. The Russian diplomats are now starting to make stupid statements. If they really did not do it, they would be much better off to simply say they don't know. One example is that the British must have samples of the agent as otherwise they could not compare it with the agent used, so they must be making it. That is just plain wrong. With modern instrumentation, such as mass spectrometry, you can work out the structure of something like this with a microgram of sample from the victim.

3. British politicians are not not shining either. The latest I heard was that they say the structure of the agent pins it down to its source. That violates the first law of thermodynamics, hence is just plain wrong. Indirectly it would be true under certain circumstances such as if tonnes of the stuff were deployed because then it might well be that there was only one factory capable of making it on that scale, but that does not apply on the gram scale. The nature of a specific chemical structure is independent of how or where it was made, assuming it was made on Earth. (If made on another planet it might have different isotopic structure, for example water on Mars has more deuterium and slightly different levels of 18O.)


message 50: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Ian wrote: "Somehow I don't see Trump as a sissie. Lying and irrational maybe, but not a sissie. The real problem here is what can you do? If you go to war, everyone dies, because at the end, whoever thinks he..."

Right. We have have basically descended into the same situation as the cold war w/covert operations (cyberwarfare included) being in the forefront and the developing & undeveloped countries taking the brunt of the casualties.


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