British people can be somewhat old-fashioned perhaps, but nevertheless we all are rightfully shocked that in 2018 a foreign country has the audacity to set out to assassinate a ‘targeted’ British Citizen on our soil, murder his daughter, kill a hero police officer, and moreover in the process endanger the lives of countless unsuspecting men, women, and children who happened to be in the vicinity [apparently about 40 sought treatment].
Oh yes, indeed we expect to see that kind of goings-on, during the fantasy events on the big screen, but certainly not on the placid streets of Wiltshire’s medieval cathedral city of Salisbury. Yet that is where Sergei Skripal in his sixties together with his daughter Yulia Skripal, only in her thirties, were taken-down by perpetrators using a most deadly ‘nerve-agent’, whence over a week later with medical help they still fight for their lives, which may well still be lost.
WHO would carry out such a dastardly act in our beloved Country, WHY did they want to do it, and HOW do they expect to get away with it, eh?
It was quite clear from the outset that Russia was the ‘Who’ behind these attempted murders, but Prime Minister Theresa May has been reluctant to point the finger of blame until yesterday. Many of us might think that was because rightly identifying Russia as the culprit also will raise suspicions of her own accountability on the sickening matter, don’t you think?
The reason for the attempted hit is simply that Mr Skripal was a ‘double agent’ from over a decade ago – a Russian spy who for financial reward turned British spy and provided invaluable information to the UK. On the other side of the coin we have had British spies who have become double-agents providing our secrets to Russia. Some people will say it is all ‘reprehensible’, but that is the dirty world of spying, isn’t it?
However, spy Skripal was exposed by yet another double agent and was understandably thrown in a Russian penal colony jail to rot! However, he was subsequently “exchanged” some eight years ago by the Russians in a swop for some of their own spies who had been caught in America, eh? Some people will say it is all ‘reprehensible’, but that is the dirty world of spying, isn’t it? Thereafter, Skripal came to settle quietly and openly with his wife, son & daughter in southern England. That of course made him an easy target for revenge killing, didn’t it?
His very close daughter Yulia had previously lived with him in England for 5 years but for some reason had then returned to Russia’s capital Moscow, was simply visiting him [as of the day before], as she frequently did, at the time of the attack.
Tellingly, only last year, her older 43 year old brother Alexander, died of liver failure while on holiday in Russia’s St Petersburg, at the age of 43. Very strange, indeed?
It has yet to be established how and when the nerve-agent was administered to the Skripals but it is known that it was some considerable time before the victims collapsed in a local park.
Now without doubt, the individuals who actually carried out this provocative Russian State disgusting chemical warfare attack on our streets, using Novichok Russia’s rare, virtually undetectable, military-grade advanced nerve-agent, will inevitably be identified by our own outstanding security services – but they will have been long gone before the victims had been found, identified, or even the penny dropped for the authorities, don’t you think?
[Nerve agents disrupt normal messaging from the nerves to the muscles that are essential for body functions, so cause muscles to become paralysed, and consequentially likely death].
The single person behind this outrage clearly is Russian’s President Vladimir Putin and the ‘Why’ is because he is currently under re-election in 5 days time, and that explains the timing as he wants to unashamedly show the Russian people that he is so powerful he can kill anybody he chooses, enemies or opponents, whether in Russia or anywhere else in the big-wide-World, as demonstrable by carrying out a brazen attack in England, the home of democracy and a place of protection for its Citizens.
Nevertheless, Putin knows from past experience that Britain is these days a pussycat when it comes to taking aggressive action against outside predators – long gone is the spunk needed to repel foreign invaders as previously evidenced by the Churchill spirit, unfortunately?
Now not only did Putin ‘fully expect’ Russia to be identified as implicated in the attack but he wanted it to become worldwide news because that was exactly the kind of exposure he wanted for his tyrannical image before votes were cast in their election.
Putin thinks Russia can act with impunity as he knows that Britain’s response will once again be lacklustre, be obtuse and ineffective, not least as we are not in a position to hurt Russia in any meaningful way, can we? If anything, he wants the UK to announce actions like diplomats’ expulsions and World Cup boycott, so that he can claim that we are simply an “enemy of Russia”. He further knows it will not present Theresa May with an opportunity to show leadership because she has her work cut-out already to show anything of the kind on BREXIT, eh?
Equally, he fears nothing from the EU when its powerhouse Germany is politically comatose and is utterly dependant on Russian gas [about 40% of its needs with some 65% of its energy imported, as it now lacks domestic resources], and indeed over half of the total EU’s energy is imported].
Neither can the UK expect strong effective support from America [and therefore not NATO?] for tough action to be taken against Russia, simply because President Trump will block it since he won’t want to black-ball them while HE is under critical investigation for accepting their help to get elected, will he?
What people need to appreciate that Putin is no different to other Russian leaders in the preferred use of liquidating murders to eliminate all opposition and perceived enemies or those who would not submit, which was evident from the terror days of Stalin, and moreover Putin has himself introduced a law a decade or more ago to give state authority to committing murders in other countries. Also then of course Putin in a television broadcast in 2010 publically boasted that “Traitors will kick the bucket. Trust me”. Russia’s assassins are protected and awarded state honours.
Now this is not the first time we have seen Russian or Soviet bloc assassination attacks in this Country, is it? No, it is an outrage that goes back a long time and in recent times on our soil, there have seen at least a dozen suspicious deaths in some way connected to the Russian state, which have been inadequately investigated – WHY?
The elderly amongst us will well remember the murder 40 years ago of Georgi Markov a Bulgarian dissident who was killed on London’s Waterloo Bridge with an umbrella gun firing a ricin toxin pellet into his ankle.
Much more recently we all witnessed the distressing images of a British naturalised Russian defector and senior ex-intelligence officer Alexander Litvinenko on his deathbed 11 years ago when he movingly said in his last statement
“…this may be the time to say one or two things to the person responsible for my present condition. You may succeed in silencing me but that silence comes at a price. You have shown yourself to be as barbaric and ruthless as your most hostile critics have claimed. You have shown yourself to have no respect for life, liberty or any civilized value. You have shown yourself to be unworthy of your office, to be unworthy of the trust of civilized men and women. You may succeed in silencing one man but the howl of protest from around the world will reverberate, Mr Putin, in your ears for the rest of your life. May God forgive you for what you have done, not only to me but to beloved Russia and its people”
[A public inquiry on 21 January 2016 concluded that Mr Litvinenko’s murder was indeed probably approved by President Putin]
This was a man had had fled to Britain at the start of this century as he was a major critic of the Putin regime who was then given political asylum here (but not properly protected when offered safety, nor given justice after death), and he was killed by radioactive polonium-210, believed to have been administered in a cup of tea at a central London hotel. The perpetrators were of course identified but had fled back to Russia and have never been brought to justice.
When Mr Litvinenko was murdered in our capital, PM Blair headed the Government, when his death was attributed to polonium-210 and when a named Russian was identified who should be charged with murder. PM Brown had taken over later when the Russians refused to extradite the man accused. No action was taken against Russia.
The inquest faced major delays because both the UK and Russian governments were slow to disclose documents, so it wasn’t until 2013 that the coroner called for a public inquiry into Mr Litvinenko’s death, so it could hear secret evidence to properly establish the circumstances of the killing and hear evidence of alleged Russian state involvement.
However, PM Cameron’s Home Secretary Theresa May disgracefully blocked the holding of a public inquiry into the death and advised that ‘UK-Russian relations were a “factor” in the government’s decision’.
Nevertheless, wife Marina Litvinenko went to the High Court to fight legally and successfully forced a public inquiry on the Government, and that inquiry finally reported 2 years ago, confirming that there had been Russian state involvement at the top level.
To all intents and purposes, Theresa May did nothing about Alexander Litvinenko’s murder and that lack of effective action or robust response and retaliatory measures or punishment, in a clear-cut case, must have played a part in Russia’s attitude with carrying on their murderous activities in the UK, and it simply signed the death warrants of those who have been targeted.
After Litvinenko’s murder, PM Theresa May had vowed to “take every step to protect the UK and its people from such a crime ever being repeated”, but it hasn’t happened, has it?
[Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal might well blame their plight and lack of protection on Theresa May]