In his statement to the House of Commons on 5th July, the British Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, stated the following:
“The use of chemical weapons anywhere is barbaric and inhumane. The decision taken by the Russian government to deploy these in Salisbury on March 4 was reckless and callous – there is no plausible alternative explanation to the events in March other than the Russian state was responsible. The eyes of the world are on Russia, not least because of the World Cup. It is now time the Russian state comes forward and explains exactly what has gone on.”
Anyone with their wits about them will immediately notice the cognitive dissonance in Mr Javid’s statement. On the one hand, he states that the Russian government took a decision to deploy chemical weapons in Salisbury on 4th March, 2018. This is an emphatic declaration, and implies that the British Government possesses irrefutable evidence that this is so. Then in the next breath, he states that there is “no plausible alternative”. This is very much less than emphatic, and the word “plausible” implies that the British Government does not have irrefutable evidence to back up their claim.
This is not a subtle difference. It is the difference between suspecting something and knowing something. If you know something to be true, because you have the hard evidence to back it up, you don’t use equivocal phrases like “no plausible alternative”. You simply say, “here is the evidence to prove it beyond reasonable doubt.” On the other hand, if you do not possess irrefutable evidence of something, as the weasel phrase “no plausible alternative” suggests, then you have no right to pronounce definitively on the matter, as Mr Javid felt fit to do.
Still, he’s only the Home Secretary. You can’t expect him to understand such petty legal concepts.
As it happens, there are plenty of plausible alternatives, as Mr Javid no doubt knows only too well. If he’s interested, he can check out the one I have put forward here. Of course, regardless of whether my “plausible alternative” is correct or not, it is unlikely that Her Majesty’s Government would want investigations to follow the line of inquiry I advanced, since it might raise an awful lot of troublesome questions about the role of British Intelligence in the attempt to stop Donald Trump getting elected. Apparently, they want to keep that quiet. Which is why they slapped D-Notices on various aspects of Skripal 1.0 to hush all that up.
So Mr Javid states that Russia must explain itself, but in so doing unwittingly admits that the Government has no hard evidence of Russian state involvement. It merely is unable to imagine a “plausible alternative”, which either means that its members are somewhat lacking in imagination, or they don’t wish other “plausible alternatives” to be discussed (of course, it could even be both). Nevertheless, since he and the Government are the ones making the claim, I’d say that actually it is incumbent on them to explain themselves, not the ones they are accusing. That is how these things are supposed to work, is it not?
This being the case, I have a number of questions for them, which urgently need answering. Urgent, because they could prove vital to the investigation. However, before I come onto the questions, I must explain the nature of them, which may well come as something of a surprise, given the latest twist to this sorry tale in Amesbury. The surprise is that not one of the 10 questions relates to the Amesbury case. This might seem odd, but there is a very important reason for it.
At the moment, very few details have emerged about the Amesbury case, and so it is not exactly clear which questions could even be asked. True, the details that have emerged so far in the official narrative are about as coherent and plausible as those in the original case, one of which I have already debunked here. However, what Mr Javid sought to do, with a very clever sleight-of-hand to cover his case of cognitive dissonance, is to make definitive claims about Case 2, based on the assumption that Case 1 has somehow been proven. But of course it hasn’t. Not even remotely. In fact, there are a ton of questions about Case 1 still hanging in the air that have not been answered, and I really don’t think that we should let Mr Javid and Co. off the hook before they’ve given us the answers to them.
But in the spirit of decency, let’s make it extremely easy for them. Let’s not ask them any hard questions. Nothing like, “C’mon, tell us the names of the people wot did it,” for instance. No, let’s instead satisfy ourselves by asking them some remarkably simple questions that they – or at least the Metropolitan Police – must know the answers to if their narrative is correct, and for a very simple reason, as you will see. So here goes:
- What were Mr Skripal’s and Yulia’s movements on the morning of 4th March?
- Why were their phones switched off?
- Did Mr Skripal see anyone or anything suspicious near his house that day?
- According to witnesses in Zizzis, Mr Skripal appeared to be very agitated. Was this because he was feeling unwell?
- According to witnesses in Zizzis, Mr Skripal appeared to be in a hurry to leave. Was this because he had an appointment to keep?
- What did Mr Skripal do after he left Zizzis?
- Can he confirm or deny that the couple seen on the CCTV camera in Market Walk, one of whom was carrying a large red bag, are him and Yulia?
- Did either Sergei or Yulia have a large red bag with them that day?
- What are his last memories before collapsing at the bench?
- Is Mr Skripal prepared to make a public statement answering the above, and will members of the international media be free to ask him questions?
So why must they know the answers to these questions? Simple. Because all they have to do to get answers to them is ask Sergei Skripal. They know where he is, don’t they? They must have questioned him, haven’t they? And Mr Skripal must surely have been eager to answer them, since the answers he gives could prove vital in helping to find out who poisoned him and his daughter, mustn’t he?
Just pause there for a second and think about it. Here we are, a third of a year after Skripal 1.0, with both Mr Skripal and his daughter having recovered months ago, and we still don’t know the answers to these basic, vital, but extraordinarily easy-to-establish questions. Isn’t that amazing?
I could even make it easier for them by boiling it down into one question:
When will the world hear from Mr Skripal about the events and circumstances of 4th March 2018, from the time he awoke until 4pm that afternoon?
C’mon British Government. It really isn’t hard. Or at least it wouldn’t be if the case you’ve presented is true. Just ask Sergei. But in the continued absence of answers to these simple questions, it seems that there might well be no “plausible alternative” but to assume that your case simply does not stack up. Which is why the onus is on you, not those you accuse, to explain yourselves.