By Scott Taylor
Last week Canada joined in the chorus of international countries demanding an explanation from Russia as to how weapons-grade nerve agent was used in an apparent assassination attempt in Salisbury, England.
The suspected target in this attack was former Russian spy turned British double agent Sergei Skripal. The ex-spy was found unconscious alongside his daughter Yulia on a park bench on Sunday March 4th.
A British policeman who found the pair and attempted to administer first-aid to the incapacitated Russians, also became seriously ill. Skripal and his daughter remain in serious condition in hospital, and British authorities have since concluded that the cause of their symptoms was a deadly nerve agent known as Novichok.
As this chemical weapon was developed by the former KGB during the Cold War it seems only logical that Vladimir Putin’s present day intelligence agency, the FSB would be the prime suspects in the attempted killing of Skripal.
That of course is the scenario put forward by British Prime Minister Theresa May, who is demanding answers from the Kremlin as to whether or not this was an ordered assassination. Joining in May’s quest, the U.S., France, Germany and Canada have all called for answers in what they claim to be a major threat to Western security.
To accept this theory, we also have to accept the fact that Putin’s FSB agents must be some of the dumbest spies in the business. Either that or they believe the James Bond genre of movies to be a non-fiction documentary series.
For starters, if they wanted Skripal dead, why go through all the trouble of employing a nerve agent. No one has yet put forward a theory as to how this Novichok was administered, but given that it affected Skripal’s daughter and the policeman as well, would indicate that it had a fairly wide range of toxicity.
British Investigators should therefore be scanning closed-circuit television footage for the would be assassin wearing a HAZMAT suit and gas mask.
Like all of those countless Hollywood Russian villains who manage to capture James Bond, none of them were ever content with simply shooting him. Instead they had to concoct some sort of elaborate slow death scheme that Bond inevitably thwarted with some new gizmo that he got from “Q”.
If Putin’s FSB agents wanted Skripal dead, given that they seemingly knew his exact whereabouts, why not simply shoot him, or stab him and fake a robbery? No, these FSB jokers had to use an unstable area weapon like a nerve agent - and one that is produced exclusively in Russia at that.
Even the dumbest of common criminals knows enough to wear gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints, but Russia’s top intelligence operatives are so clumsy that they left a clear trail of evidence right back to Putin’s desk in the Kremlin. Strange.
Like the Bond villains, they also failed to kill their intended target.
Which brings us to the question of why would the FSB want to kill Skripal now? Skripal was arrested in Moscow back in 2004 when it was discovered he was a double agent working for Britain’s MI6.
Convicted of treason in 2006, he was later released to Britain in 2010 as part of a spy exchange between Russia and the U.K.
While it is possible that Putin still harbors a personal grudge against Skripol, why release him to the U.K. then wait eight years before attempting to assassinate him.
It should be pointed out that this botched killing comes just weeks before Russia’s presidential election. Perhaps Putin thought he’d best take care of loose ends such as Skripal on the off chance that he would lose at the ballot box on March 18th?
To accept the theory put forward by Theresa May, that Putin and Russia are the “likely” culprits behind the “plausible” assassination attempt on Skripal, means that we have to trust in the evidence presented by British and U.S. intelligence agencies.
These would be the same MI6 and CIA that told the world in 2003 that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. That fabrication of evidence led to the invasion of Iraq and the resultant violent anarchy which continues to rage. That deliberate falsehood from our own allied intelligence agencies has indisputably claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.
One has to hope they will be a little more sure of their findings when they start accusing a nuclear armed superpower of aggression.