Thursday, 5 April 2018

Yulia Skripal's incredible statement

The Metropolitan Police issued a Statement on behalf of Yulia Skripal this afternoon. You can read it here. Like many other aspects of this case, the statement stretches credulity.

There are a number of points of interest.

1. The statement demonstrates an excellent command of the English language. There is no rider to the statement, claiming that it is a translation. Indeed, she has previously worked in England and so one can reasonably assume she speaks English, and the BBC represented the statement as her own words. Nevertheless, the correctness of the use of English suggests a native English speaker, rather than someone who learnt the language later.

2. The actual content of the statement does not suggest someone who is recovering from an incapacitating illness in a foreign land, wishing to reassure her family and friends that she (and her father) is well. Indeed, the target audience appears to be the British public. The second, third and fourth sentences are clearly intended as thanks to British people, respectively, the general public, the people of Salisbury, specifically those who came to her aid (why are these people never interviewed by the media?) and the staff at the hospital (who also are never interviewed by the media).

3. The lack of facts about what happened in the statement suggests that whoever wrote it wished to reveal as little as possible.

4. The final sentence also appears to be addressed to the people of Britain, specifically the media. It requests respect for her privacy and that of her family. Why would Yulia make a request for respect for her family's privacy? Who could she have had in mind? Her father? Other members of her family are, after all, in Russia, and they are talking to the Russian media.

The statement looks more like a public relations press release than the words of someone who is recovering from a serious poisoning and only regained consciousness a week ago.

The statement's target audience is clearly the British public. This is very strange. Why would someone in Yulia Skripal's situation address her first public statement to the British public, rather than her friends and family - who live in Russia?

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