Residual Damage

5 July 2018

 

Cogito Ergo Non Serviam

English Couple Poisoned with Russian Nerve Agent

 

A middle-aged English couple are in a hospital in Wiltshire today recovering from Novichok poisoning. This is the same nerve agent used by Russian intelligence in an attempt to murder Sergei Skirpal, a defector from that club. The couple appear to have no ties to security, law enforcement or any other activity that would make them a target for murder by the Kremlin. Given how the nerve agent is administered and its physical nature, this could well be left-overs from the original attack.

The Guardian reports this morning, "Britain's top counter-terrorism officer, Neil Basu, announced that expert scientists in chemical warfare at the world famous Porton Down laboratory had established that novichok had caused the collapse in Wiltshire of British nationals Dawn Sturgess, 44, from Salisbury, and Charlie Rowley, 45, of Amesbury."

The paper adds, "On Thursday night a senior Government source told the Press Association it was believed there was cross-contamination of the same batch of nerve agent involved in the 'reckless' Salisbury attack, as opposed to a secondary attack. 'They [the authorities] have never been able to ascertain the item used to deposit the Novichok and it’s possible the pair have come into contact with that item', the source said."

The British authorities spent a great deal of time and effort cleaning up Salisbury town center after the March attack. However, novichok is a persistent compound, and authorities believe that Ms. Sturgess and Mr. Rowley came in contact with the substance outside the original clean-up area. That means that the town center may still have novichok out where people can encounter it.

Sciencedirect.com says, "Novichok agents may be dispersed as an ultra-fine powder as opposed to a gas or a vapour." It adds, "Novichok agents may consist of two separate 'non-toxic' components that, when mixed, become the active nerve agent. No further information is available." And further it states, "The main route of exposure is thought to be by inhalation, although absorption may also occur via skin or mucous membrane exposure."

That may or may not be entirely accurate. The Russians engineered it, and they are not about to hand out a fact sheet on the stuff. The western counter-intelligence crowd may not know everything about novichok, and even if they do, they may not share every detail with the public.

Given those provisos, however, and given the months that have passed between the Skirpal attack and now, one can see a theory consistent with the facts as they are currently known. It is quite possible that the Russians spread components of novichok around Salisbury town center in select areas likely to be frequented by Sergei Skirpal in addition to smearing it on the front door of his house, as reported in the press back in March. The clean-up by the authorities missed a couple of spots far enough apart or so oddly placed that no one in the last three or four months has managed to expose themselves to the two non-toxic substances that form novichok when combined -- at least until now.

That does not rule out a second attack, in the event the two victims turn out to have some value to the Russians as corpses.

Three things are now vital. First, Ms. Sturgess and Mr. Rowley need to receive the best medical care possible. Second, another clean up based on their activities and movements is needed. Finally, Britain must retaliate in some way for the attempted murder of two citizens. All eyes are on Theresa May, again.

© Copyright 2018 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.

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