Tuesday, 3 April 2018

The Skripal syllogism

"There is no other plausible conclusion" Theresa May

This is how the government used evidence and logic to conclude that Russia is guilty.

1. WHEN did the Skripal poisoning occur? Don't know.

The Skripals were, according to Theresa May, poisoned by a military grade nerve agent. They were found slumped on a park bench after four in the afternoon on Sunday 4 March. There has been much speculation in the media, filling the vacuum left by the absence of facts. It has been suggested that they were poisoned at Mr Skripal's home, which they left at nine in the morning. If this is the case, they were infected by a military grade nerve agent, eight times more toxic than VX, which would have affected them virtually instantaneously and killed them in less than two minutes, and yet remained symptom-free for over seven hours. Other suggestions include the air conditioning unit in Mr Skripal's car, or on a city street, or in the pub they visited or in the restaurant where they had lunch. All of these share the problem of the delayed effect. Another suggestion is that they were poisoned at the park bench. This has the merit of getting rid of the miraculous delay, but it does not explain why they did not die, nor does it explain the fact that the doctor on the scene did not become ill. The simple fact is that Theresa May does not know when the Skripals were poisoned. It could have happened any time between before nine in the morning and four in the afternoon. That's a seven hour window.

2. WHERE were the Skripals poisoned? Don't know.

As the above discussion of the possible timing makes clear, it is currently not known where Sergei and Yulia Skripal were poisoned. The police investigation is currently focused on Mr Skripal's door; four weeks after the event. If it was the door, was it the inside of the door or the outside? If it was the outside, surely many other people would have been effected. If it was the inside, how did it get there? The simple fact is that Theresa May does not know where the Skripals were poisoned. It could have been any number of locations.

3. WHAT were the Skripals poisoned with? Don't know.

Theresa May has told parliament that the Skripals were poisoned by a military grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia (meaning the Soviet Union). This is, of course, a long way from saying that Russia produced the nerve agent. Indeed, the plant that produced the Soviet nerve agent she referred to was in Uzbekistan (not Russia) and it was decommissioned by the US (who therefore had access to it). The formula for the nerve agent was published years ago. And the nerve agent has been produced by Iran (under the supervision of the OPCW). However, there is reason to doubt Theresa May's claim that the Skripal's were in fact poisoned by a military grade nerve agent. There is the apparent ineffectiveness of the substance. But even more significantly, there is the British government's own evidence before the Court of Protection, where the government scientist could only identify the substance as "a nerve agent or closely related compound" - in plain English this means that Porton Down scientists are not even sure that it is a nerve agent, let alone a military grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia. The simple fact is Theresa May does not know what the Skripals were poisoned by.

4. HOW was the poison administered to the Skripals? Don't know.

By now it should be clear that given the lack of basic facts we simply do not know how the Skripals came to be poisoned. There is much speculation in the media, but that is all it is: speculation filling the vacuum created by the complete absence of facts.

5. WHO poisoned the Skripal's. Don't Know.

As the police assistant commissioner in charge of the case stated: the investigation has not identified any persons of interest, let alone suspects.

6. Russia is bad, specifically, Putin is bad.

This point requires no elaboration as it is a self evident fact (for the Establishment).

7. Therefore, Russia did it, specifically, Putin. As Theresa May said, "There is no other plausible conclusion."

And if you are buying that, I have a bridge...

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