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Friday, April 6, 2018

U.K. Lab Says It Doesn’t Know Nerve Agent’s ‘Precise Source,’ Drawing Russian Retort

Colin Dwyer, NPR, April 3, 2018

Scientists at a U.K. government laboratory have not verified the source of the substance used to poison Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, according to the lab’s chief executive.

“We were able to identify it as novichok, to identify that it was a military-grade nerve agent. We have not verified the precise source,” Gary Aitkenhead of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory told British broadcaster Sky News on Tuesday. “But we provided the scientific information to the government, who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions they’ve come to.”

Aitkenhead added that while his lab–better known as Porton Down after its secretive site in southern England–has been tasked with examining the chemical, “it’s not our job to then see where it was actually manufactured.” He only went so far as to note that the sample they studied is “probably only within the capabilities of a state actor.”

Still, his reticence to confirm a specific source appears to undercut an account offered by Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, who spoke to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle amid the international dispute brewing over the attack. On March 20–the same day the U.K. formally expelled 23 Russian diplomats for the Kremlin’s alleged role in the Skripals’ poisoning–Johnson told DW that researchers at the laboratory “were absolutely categorical” about the evidence.

“I mean, I asked the guy myself,” Johnson said. “I said, ‘Are you sure?’ And he said, ‘There is no doubt.’ “

Opposition lawmakers in the U.K. quickly pointed out the discrepancy, including Labour MP Chris Williamson, who tweeted that Johnson had “just lied to justify our country’s foreign policy.”

But perhaps the more vehement response came from Russian officials, who have denied the allegations that the Kremlin was involved in the attack. They quickly pounced on Aitkenhead’s comments, pointing to them as proof of what they have maintained all along–that the British claims, and those of their Western allies, are fabrications “part of a large-scale political provocation.”

“We understood from the very start that UK Government statements on the nerve agent having been produced in Russia were a bluff. Now this has been confirmed by the head of the secret lab,” the Russian Embassy in the U.K. said in a statement Tuesday. “This only proves that all political declarations on the Russian origin of the crime are nothing but assumptions not stemming from objective facts or the course of the investigation.”

The Embassy also implied Porton Down was the actual source of the chemical: “Mr Aitkenhead is not denying that the lab had developed or keeps stocks of the agent they call ‘novichok’, although, of course, he would not admit it.”

Dennis Edwards: Great Britain had talked about leaving the Euro-zone and making bilateral agreements with Russia. However, the death of the former Russian spies is heating up the relationship between the two countries. It is again pushing Great Britain into a anti-Russian position. Similarly, Trump ran on a ballot of working with the Russians for international peace and not antagonizing them as Clinton was intent on doing. However, the whole "Russian Card" about the election has made it impossible for Trump to follow through on his promise to work with Russia for better international relations. 

Who is actually behind the killings of the spies, we don't know. What we do know is that it causing more tension between the two great international powers. If the USA and Russia were able to work together they might be able to solve the problems in the Middle East. However, the fact that they are divided seems to benefit the interests of Israel more then either the USA or Russia. If Russia and USA were united they could help impose on Israel a mandate for peace. Divided makes that possibility an impossibility. Could Mossad agents, or ones acting under their command, be responsible for the killing of the Russian spies to help keep these nations antagonistic towards one another when working together would obviously be beneficial for the whole world? 

Bible prophecy confirms that a powerful world leader will impose on Israel a pact called the Holy Covenant for a seven year period. Will that covenant force the Israelis and the Palestinians into a peace agreement that no USA President or other international figure has been able to accomplish during the last 70 years, though many tried? Was the killing of the former Russian spy a means to foment discord between the super powers and thus enable Israel to continue her policy of extermination of the Palestinian people and the hope of some Israelis for "Greater Israel"? We don't know. But we do know the Covenant is prophesied and that the Antichrist will impose it. Keep attentive to the situation in the Middles East. It's where Bible prophecy will be fulfilled.

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