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Spy games ?

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Almost as bad as students having two votes or ethnics postal voting for their families !     :D

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Well, the headless chickens are really running amok nowadays, with an expulsion of Russian diplomats (spies), which will be countered by the Russians expelling all our diplomats (spies). The question is of course, is having once started such tit for tat antics, where does it all go ?    Unlike the cold war, where a degree of calculation was exercised by both sides, we have an unpredictable Kremlin and an unpredictable White House, being carried along on a wave of hysteria; thus presenting a clear and present danger for us all.   :ph34r:

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Given recent events involving facebook and also the American election hacking kerfuffle, i do wonder if there is any need to have spies diplomats at all.

Defence secrets? look in the daily papers, they seem to be printing revelations by the hour about what we have or haven't got as regards armed forces.

secrets are leaked to spies in order for us to know what the opposition think they know about us.

still with all the diplomats being sent home it will give the various agencies a chance to catch up on installing all the new surveillance equipment in the embassies without having to worry about making an excuse to get in there.:ph34r:

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The head of Porton Down Gary Aitkenhead has stated that it is not possible that the nerve agent Novichok  came from their establishment  as they have the highest levels of security and control, Yeah, right! and that's a fact folks!!!!.

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6 hours ago, algy said:

The head of Porton Down Gary Aitkenhead has stated that it is not possible that the nerve agent Novichok  came from their establishment  as they have the highest levels of security and control, Yeah, right! and that's a fact folks!!!!.

I think i would feel safer if the boss of Porton Down had a name that was not public knowledge ,the same with anyone else who worked at such a secret establishment. 

Considering Britain has prevailing westerly winds ,an accident or a hail of heavy ordnance onto the base could wipe out most if not all the population of south & east England.

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As Porton Down is our main Chemical and Biological research establishment, charged with producing antidotes for all known C&B agents, think it's "highly likely" that they would have samples in stock. This supposed Russian attack hasn't actually killed anybody yet,  it's taken weeks for HMG to tell potential victims to destroy their clothing and decide they are going to "clean up" areas of Salisbury;  so clearly not an effective nerve agent and clearly not an effective or efficient method of eliminating traitors.    As this tit for tat farce progresses, it can only lead to escalation with the risks of miscalculation, in a world where cold war rules no longer apply, with results that will leave no winners.   :ph34r:

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Obs, without small amounts of the stuff you cannot test detector devices and our squaddies do need, and have, chemical weapons detectors so it is quite likely that Porton Down has some of the agent concerned. I do not think the fact that it hasn't killed anybody yet is a meaningful statement. One of the inventors is quoted as saying that when the life-support is turned off they will die. He also said there is no antidote for the stuff that was used. The fact that a court order had to be obtained to give a blood sample to the OPCW tells you that they currently have essentially no mental capacity. Your confident suggestion that it is not an effective nerve agent may be misplaced. The treaty places a limit on the amount of scheduled materials that can be held by a state and they may only be in one laboratory so the security of the stocks has to be considered very carefully. In addition the amount of each compound, agent or precursor has to be reported on and audited regularly, checked at masses measured in milligrams.

I would also suggest that it would have not been possible to clear the town up until the OPCW team were finished to avoid the Russians claiming that evidence was tampered with. I agree that there was an issue with Public Health England but as I recall it was only about what to do with dry clean only clothes and they will have needed to check on the processes since it obviously doesn't have water to inactivate the agent and potentially could cause concentration of it (if there was any in the first place). In fact the advice is to hand dry clean only clothes to the Local Authority for destruction - no doubt the MOD will be having a hand in that.

What do you suggest to persuade the Russians to go back to following the rules of international order if you don't support expulsions of spies? It is a fact that ignoring their behaviour hasn't worked for the last few years so it is unlikely to work in the next few years. The problem is that Russians don't see government the way we do in the west so you can't expect them to react as the British would, which is why it is hard for the likes of us to see clear answers to what should be done.

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Well your first sentence is basically what I said.   As for your last para;  tit for tat expulsions, as I said, can only lead to escalation, now if your content to accept the ultimate tit for tat exchange of nukes fine, but it seems in the world of grown ups that a more mature response is required.  The first being prevention: who has allowed these (as far as the Russians are concerned) criminal traitors into the UK in the first place, and worse, granted them asylum. And now, as a result of this hysteria, given them ample time to shift their money elsewhere.  A. They shouldn't have been allowed in in the first place. B. Their (or more to the point, the Russian peoples money), should have been confiscated by HMG. Certainly they should not have been allowed to buy up top of the range housing in London or football clubs, something they've been allowed to do for decades.     :ph34r:

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You are clearly conflating different issues in that response. There is no reason to believe that anyone is contemplating a nuclear exchange over this or any issue, however Putin's stance has worked because you obviously think he is that mad.

They were allowed in because they knew things and news reports suggest that Skripal was still giving lectures to the military of how things work in Russia, so he was presumably considered useful and the old rules said states don't go after exchanged spies before Putin broke the rules. Asylum is given to those who are at risk from the government if they stay in their own country, that is an international law test - he clearly passed that test but his daughter did not. I have not heard anything to suggest money was involved, he was a spy not an oligarch.

As regards the actual oligarchs, so not Skripal, I am no more keen than you on them being here. I hate what Lebedev has done to the Independent and the Evening Standard, the comments seem to be all from Russian trolls. Just so you know, confiscating private property without legal cause is unlawful even when done by government, being contrary to the bless Labour Human Rights Act. One day someone will point that out to Corbyn, not that he will listen I don't suppose.

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I'm sure no one is expecting a nuclear exchange at the moment, but after the tit for tat diplomat exchanges, what next ?  And what next after that, and so on ?    "Putin broke the rules", but there's still no irrefutable evidence been presented that he did, just jingoistic outbursts from Boris the buffoon and the EU's carefull response that Russian involvement was "highly likely" - but no proof.    As for confiscating the funds of Oligarchs, I'm sure if HMG lawyers can come up with an ancient law to sequestrate funds from the NUM, I'm sure they can come up with the necessary legislation to deal with the money launderers.       :ph34r:

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No ancient law was needed. The NUM were in contempt of court and the judge had ruled that if that happened he would consider sequestration, and duly issued a writ under common law. The unusual bit was the Attorney General indemnifying the sequestrator against costs in obtaining bonds for injunctions in foreign courts in whose jurisdiction the NUM had placed funds precisely to avoid sequestration. That is the gist of what was said in the House of Commons according to Hansard.

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So, where there a will, there's a way - which was my point.    Meanwhile, the Salisbury Inquiry believes the nerve gas was smeared on to the front door of Scripal home: Police are now searching for two men in full protective chemical suits and masks, who were not seen on any CCTV loitering around the house.      :D

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Seems Porton Down can't prove that the nerve agent was manufactured in Russia - so it looks like the plot is unwinding already.  No CCTV images of Russians in full protective suits walking around Salisbury.  Two people only affected by a "deadly nerve agent", and one of them is now sitting up in bed.   Only Boris could have thought this one up !     :D

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Surely Obs, the powers that be only need to check the cctv for  gentlemen with their coat collars turned up & trilbies pulled over their faces .

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You'd think so Dave, first thing they show on TV in criminal cases ("do you recognise these men?);  alas, in this case zilch.   :D

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Not exactly a normal criminal case though is it? What with the prime suspect being a state which is demanding consular access to the evidence in order to rubbish the case. Oh, and asking more than ten questions about why the UK has involved the French government in the investigation, which I have even heard in the press. If it suits the Russians they can interfere anywhere they like in the affairs of other states it appears. Lavrov's line about licensed to kill was a tribute to James Bond so I fear he is confusing fiction with reality.

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Think you may find that truth is often stranger than fiction Con,  WMD's , Dr Kelly etc.   Any foreign State should have access to it's own Nationals, which is the diplomatic convention.  If we refuse them access in this case, they'll just reciprocate in future, which is why, eventually, they'll be allowed access. I'm afraid there are more holes in this case than a colander, if and when it all unwinds and the Gov falls, the question will be, who do we put in No10 ?   Not a lot of choice is there ?!    :rolleyes:

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10 hours ago, Davy51 said:

Surely Obs, the powers that be only need to check the cctv for  gentlemen with their coat collars turned up & trilbies pulled over their faces .

What have the local flashers society got to do with poisoning Russian ex spies?:shock:

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You must have seen the old spy films Sid where all the spies first line of camouflage was turning their coat collars up.  There might even be an Olga Krebb look alike down at the  Salisbury Darby & Joan club.

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Ah yes, ... but the perpetrators were not spies but assassins! So there is an other genre of stereotypes to mine .... (The vessel with the pestle anyone)

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I see that the special meeting of the Executive of the OPCW is meeting today following a request by the Russians that the meeting be held in private. Given that they are claiming to be the wronged party and to have no such material why would they do that? I'm confused again...

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I'm sure they have stockpiles, just as West has; so perhaps they don't want it made public - it might scare folk.    :ph34r:

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The Swedish Ambassador to the OPCW just made public a National Statement during today's meeting. I found the final paragraph interesting ..

"In Sweden’s view, the OPCW has an important role to play on all issues concerning the prohibition of chemical weapons. However, at this stage we would consider it appropriate to await the results of the OPCW’s sample analysis before reverting to this issue. In terms of the Convention, Sweden agrees that the UK has several options how to respond, and certainly retains the right to conduct its own independent police investigation, according to national legislation. This is one of the reasons why the draft decision as presented is not acceptable to Sweden."

I assume that there could be a relationship between Putins' desire to "draw a line under the incident" and the unpublished draft decision before the Executive. No doubt there will be more information later but there is no national statement from the UK or Russia, just Sweden and the EU so far.

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Thought Boris had already decided it was the Russians ?     :D      After almost a month of this "lethal agent" lying around, seems the authorities have decided a mass "clean up" is now required - you couldn't make it up, but perhaps we'll discover they have !   :D

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