Skripal Case Bombshell: Swiss Lab Reports 'BZ Toxin' Used In Salisbury - Chemical Not Produced In Russia, Only NATO States


FOTCM Member
Niall's got a great article up on the Skripal affair right now. He writes:

With the two Skripals recovering as they did, and with eyewitnesses describing them as appearing to be suffering from hallucinations, and with the two Amesbury victims being drug addicts, future episodes of The Skripal Saga may see the story-line evolve from 'sports supplements' to powerful drugs.
While working I stumbled upon this early report, which states that the earliest medical documents record the Skripals condition as exposure to Fentanyl:

The Clinical Services Journal piece Gaytandzhiev had found is from March 5th, 2018, the day after the Skripal incident in Salisbury. In its original version it read: Salisbury District Hospital declared a "major incident" on Monday 5 March, after two patients were exposed to an opioid [...] It followed an incident hours earlier in which a man and a woman were exposed to the drug Fentanyl in the city centre. The opioid is 10,000 times stronger than heroin. [...] All reference to Fentanyl as the cause of the Skripals' illness in the March 5th article was removed between April 26th and April 27th.

It seems plausible that these two Russians were drug dealers being sheep-dipped, transferring a tainted supply that would seriously injure the Skripals while setting the two up as fall guys. They made other deals along the way, and this is what the Amesbury drug addicts succumbed to.


The Living Force
Niall's got a great article up on the Skripal affair right now. He writes:

While working I stumbled upon this early report, which states that the earliest medical documents record the Skripals condition as exposure to Fentanyl:

It seems plausible that these two Russians were drug dealers being sheep-dipped, transferring a tainted supply that would seriously injure the Skripals while setting the two up as fall guys. They made other deals along the way, and this is what the Amesbury drug addicts succumbed to.

Another report dated April 28th with some of the same information about a possible Fentanyl scenario but there is also:
Possible use of BZ Toxin in the Skripal Poisoning?

Quote: "This possibility needs further clarification. It is an evolving story.

It comes from a leaked report by the Swiss Lab, who were asked to test the Skripal blood samples by the OPCW.

The leaked report was given to Sergei Lavrov - Russian Foreign Minister, who then reported it to the media. Sergei Lavrov is noted for being very careful with his words and actions. I have yet to see him tell a lie so he is a very credible witness.

The report given to Lavrov has not been made public and remains "confidential".

The OPCW have refused to publish the full contents of the report from the Swiss Lab and their carefully selected extract didn't mention BZ toxin, nor did it make any reference to "Novichok" or "Russians."

April 28, 2018 - The Fentanyl Cover Up in the Skripal Poisoning Case
Ian56 The Fentanyl Cover Up in the Skripal Poisoning Case

Sept. 13, 2018 - IN DEPTH: Latest on Skripal Poisoning -The UK Government’s Lies
IN DEPTH: Latest on Skripal Poisoning -The UK Government's Lies - Fort Russ


The Living Force
The Pentagon has spent at least $70 million on military experiments involving tests with deadly viruses and chemical agents at Porton Down – the UK military laboratory near the city of Salisbury. The secretive biological and chemical research facility is located just 13 km from where on 4th March former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped on a bench following an alleged Novichok nerve agent poisoning.

March 28, 2018 - REVEALED: Pentagon’s $70 Million Chemical & Biological Program at Porton Down in UK

MAP: It may only be a coincidence that Porton Down facility is located only 13 km from the site of the alleged (and still unconfirmed) ‘Novichok’ chemical weapons attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Information obtained from the US federal contracts registry reveals that the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has funded a number of military projects performed at the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), or Porton Down, over the last decade. Among them: experimental respiratory infection of non-human primates (marmosets) with Anthrax, Ebola virus, Marburg virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus, Western equine encephalitis virus, and Eastern equine encephalitis virus. The US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has also funded experiments on animals which were exposed to chemical agents such as Sulfur Mustard and Phosgene gas. Phosgene gas was used as a chemical weapon during World War I where it was responsible for about 85 % of the 100,000 deaths caused by chemical weapons.

DTRA has also been granted full access to DSTL scientific and technical capabilities, and test data under a 2011 contract for the collaboration and exchange of scientific and technical capabilities with the UK Ministry of Defence.

At least 122,000 animals used for military chemical and biological experiments at Porton Down

Animal experiments are classified as confidential in the UK. Under section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, it is a criminal offence to disclose certain information about animal experiments in the UK.

Data obtained via the Freedom of Information Act though gives an idea of the dimensions of military chemical and biological experiments carried out at Porton Down. A total of 122,050 animals have been exposed to deadly pathogens, chemicals and incurable diseases over the last decade (2005-2016).

Animals used include mice, guinea pigs, rats, pigs, ferrets, sheep, and non-human primates. Some of the deadly experiments have been sponsored by the Pentagon under contracts between DSTL and DTRA. Scientists at Porton Down have infected, or poisoned, animals in order to measure time to death and lethal dose of exposure. In practice, the possible use of the researched virus/chemical gas as a weapon.

Ebola as bioweapon [...] [...]

Chemical agent tests [...] [...]

Coincidence: Guinea pigs at Porton Down and at the home of the poisoned ex-spy

Tests using nerve agents VX and VM on guinea pigs were carried out at Poton Down in 2015. The project was funded by the UK Ministry of Defence. Interestingly, ginea pigs were also found at Sergei Skripal’s home in Salisbury, just a few kilometers away from the secretive chemical and biological military lab. A photo of the Skripals’ pets – a cat and guinea pigs, was posted by his daughter Yulia on Facebook.


Guinea pigs were found in the house of the poisoned ex-spy in Salisbury, just a few kilometers away from Porton Down, where such guinea pigs were used for nerve agent chemical tests (Photo: Yulia Skripal, Facebook)

In a 2015 report to the UK parliament the UK Ministry of Defence does confirm the use of animals for military chemical and biological experiments. The ministry states: “DSTL is proud to deliver cutting-edge science and technology for the benefit of national defence and security. Part of its work is to provide safe and effective countermeasures against the threat posed by chemical and biological weapons and to enhance the treatment of conventional casualties on the battlefield, which could not currently be achieved without the use of animals”.

Porton Down scientists test chemical gas on London Tube passengers

Chemical gas was released on thousands of unsuspecting commuters during a military experiment on the London Underground, documents reveal. These chemical tests were performed in 2013 by scientist from Porton Down.

TERROR ON THE TUBE? Porton Down scientists released chemical gas on the London Underground in 2013.
The UK government never informed the British public of the military experiment on the London Underground. Thousands of people were exposed to chemical gas without their knowledge. Nor did the Ministry of Defence ask for their consent to participate in such military experiments. Information about the project can be obtained from a 2016 US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) document entitled Environmental Assessment of Proposed NYC Subway Tracer Particle and Gas Releases for the Underground Transport Restoration Project.

5 PFTs, SF6 and Urea were released on the London Underground in 2013 in the form of liquid aerosol droplets. Source: US Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
The document provides information about other programs running in the USA and UK from 2005 to 2016. Among them are the London Underground chemical trials. They were conducted by the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), also known as Porton Down.

Information obtained from the UK government contracts registry confirms that Porton Down scientists conducted a study involving access to the London tube under a 3-year contract with the London Underground (2011-2014). The content of the project is not specified though.

According to the contract documents, the London Underground cannot communicate “on these matters with any media representative unless specifically granted permissions to do so. In the event that the Contract becomes classified the Contractor must safeguard information. Before publishing information to the general public, Porton Down may redact any information that would be exempt from disclosure if it was the subject of a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act”.

The London Underground is prohibited from public disclosure of information about the Porton Down project without permission, according to the contract documents. Source:

The controversial military laboratory was investigated for chemical and biological experiments on humans in the past. Up to 20,000 people took part in various trials from 1949 to 1989. In 2008, the UK Ministry of Defence paid 360 veterans £3 million without admitting liability.

Ronald George Maddison (image, left) was a twenty-year-old Royal Air Force engineer who died while undergoing tests with sarin at Porton Down in 1953, according to declassified military documents.

Even recently, UK have been actively involved in the development of the lethal VX gas and have conducted numerous lives tests. Similarly, the United States has an extensive and sordid record of using both chemical and biological weapons at home and overseas. Aside from civilian deaths, a number of US serviceman deaths during field testing and other ‘live’ testing. See more evidence of the US record here and here.

REVEALED: Previously classified US document reveals how US official were well aware of the risks of exposing their own personnel to biological and chemical agents – and yet, this did not stop them from running ‘live’ tests.

Powder dissemination of chemical or biological agents [...] [...]

US official lied in Brussels about the Pentagon biolaboratories

Robert Kadlec, Assistant Secretary at the US Department of Health, categorically denied the existence of an American bio-weapons program at a seminar on the threat of biological and chemical weapons. The event was organized by the European Parliament on 7th March in Brussels. Asked why the information about the US military bio-laboratories in 25 countries bordering on Russia, China and Iran (the Pentagon’s main rivals) is classified, Kadlec responded: “They are not classified, they are openly available to anyone who wants to look at them.”

According to the 2005 Agreement between the US DoD and the Ministry of Health of Ukraine the Ukrainian government is prohibited from public disclosure of sensitive information about the US program. The Pentagon has been operating 11 biolaboartories in Ukraine.

Porton Down is just one of the Pentagon-funded military laboratories in 25 countries across the world, where the US Army produces and tests man-made viruses, bacteria and toxins in direct violation of the UN convention. These US bio-laboratories are funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) under a $ 2.1 billion military program– Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP), and are located in former Soviet Union countries such as Georgia and Ukraine, the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa.

The Pentagon-funded military facilities are not under the direct control of the host state as the US military and civilian personnel is working under diplomatic cover. As the local governments and communities are prohibited from public disclosure of sensitive information about the foreign military program running on their own territory – the full extent of the public risk will always remain unknown. Consequently, without being under the direct control of the host state, these Pentagon bio-laboratories put the health of the local population at risk and must be closed.

An earlier version of this story was first published at the military analysis website South Front.


The Living Force
September 26, 2018 - Sailsbury poisoning suspect named as a Russian Colonel by UK media
Salisbury poisoning suspect named as a Russian colonel by UK media | Reuters

The real identity of one of the men wanted by Britain for the Salisbury nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter is Anatoliy Vladimirovich Chepiga, according to media reports on Wednesday which said he was a decorated Russian colonel.

Earlier this month, British prosecutors charged two Russians - Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov - with attempted murder for the Novichok poisoning of the Skripals in the southern English city in March but said they believed the suspects had been using aliases to enter Britain.

The Daily Telegraph and the BBC said Boshirov’s real name was Chepiga, citing investigative reporting by Bellingcat, a website which covers intelligence matters. Two European security sources familiar with the Skripal investigation said the details were accurate. :rotfl:

Russia denies any involvement in the poisoning, and the two men have said they were merely tourists who had flown to London for fun and visited Salisbury to see its cathedral.

The British government knows both their real identities, sources close to the investigation have said.

The Telegraph reported that Chepiga, 39, had served in wars in Chechnya and Ukraine, and was made a Hero of the Russian Federation by decree of President Vladimir Putin in 2014.

The Metropolitan Police, who are investigating the poisoning, and the Foreign Office declined to comment on the report.

Wed 26 Sep 2018 - Salisbury poisoning suspect is Russian colonel – reports
Salisbury poisoning suspect is Russian colonel – reports

‘Ruslan Boshirov’ is in fact highly decorated GRU officer Anatoliy Chepiga, say reports

One of the Salisbury suspects previously named as Ruslan Boshirov has been identified in reports as a Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga. Photograph: Tass

Investigative journalists have claimed to have identified one of the two suspects in the Salisbury poisoning as a highly decorated officer in Russia’s military intelligence service (GRU).

The online investigative sites Bellingcat and The Insider identified one of the two suspects – previously named as Ruslan Boshirov – as Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga, a veteran of Russian special forces who was awarded the country’s highest state award, Hero of the Russian Federation.

Chepiga was a veteran of the war in Chechnya and was given the honour in December 2014, when Russian officers were active in the Ukraine conflict.

If confirmed, the report would eviscerate claims by the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, that the two men were civilians and had no link to Russian state intelligence.

In a description of its investigation, Bellingcat said that it found Chepiga by identifying military academies where the two men had likely studied in Russia’s far east and then matched a picture of the suspect to a man in camouflage.

From there, the reporters tracked Chepiga to two addresses in Khabarovsk and Moscow, and were also leaked passport data showing photographs that matched Chepiga to Boshirov.

More details to follow …


The Living Force
Tue Oct 02, 2018 - New Book Claims Sergei Skripal Did Not Believe Moscow Poisoned Him

Sergei Skripal spent most of his days watching Russian television and adopting “the Kremlin line in many matters even while sitting in his MI6-purchased house”, a BBC journalist revealed in a book about the former Russian intelligence officer.

Skripal initially refused to believe that the Russian government might want to kill him, BBC journalist Mike Urban writes in his book, “The Skripal Files”, slated to come out later this week, Sputnik reported.

In the book, Skripal is described as an “unashamed Russian nationalist” who faced some “difficult psychological adjustments” after he woke from a coma following the alleged nerve agent attack in March, being reluctant to recognize that he could have been the target of a Kremlin “murder plot”.

According to Urban, who met Skripal several times in his MI6-bought house in Salisbury in 2017, the ex-Russian spy asked not to be quoted directly, saying he was “afraid of Putin”.

Even though he didn’t believe he faced any personal danger, Skripal still avoided making public statements so that his daughter Yulia and his son Alexander could feel free to come and visit him from Russia.

The book describes Skripal as a man who spent most of his day watching Russian television and adopting “the Kremlin line in many matters even while sitting in his MI6-purchased house”.

Skripal was convicted in Russia in 2006 for passing sensitive information to the UK’s MI6. In 2010, he was allowed to move to the United Kingdom as part of a spy swap and has lived there ever since.

He reportedly traveled to the US in 2011, the Czech Republic in 2012 and to Estonia. According to the book, last summer, Skripal spent a week in Switzerland briefing the Alpine republic’s intelligence service.

All this still fails to explain why Moscow would try to kill him, though.

In early March, Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious in the market town of Salisbury, around 100 miles Southwest of London, as a result of an alleged nerve agent attack.

London accused Moscow of having orchestrated the attack with what UK experts claim was the A234 nerve agent, which Moscow firmly denies.


The Living Force
Oct 2, 2018 - Guardian: Skripal shared Kremlin's stance on Ukraine and did not fear for his life
Guardian: Skripal shared Kremlin's stance on Ukraine and did not fear for his life

The publication concludes that Skripal, when he regained consciousness after being poisoned in Salisbury, did not want to believe London’s version that Russia’s special services were behind the crime.

Former Russian military intelligence officer and British spy Sergei Skripal shared the Kremlin’s official stance on Ukraine and did not believe that his life was in danger, the Guardian wrote on Tuesday referring to The Skripal Files, a new book by journalist Mark Urban.

Skripal, who was convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain, and later swapped for Russian intelligence officers, was given asylum in the UK.

Urban interviewed Skripal in 2017. His book that will be released later this week is based on those interviews.

Oct. 1, 2018 - Russia urges UK to present Skripal instead of publishing ‘fake news’ about suspects
Russia urges UK to present Skripal instead of publishing ‘fake news’ about suspects

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said that London acts according to a "we accuse you, you defend yourself" standard.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova advises her British colleagues to show Sergei Skripal instead of pushing reports on Colonel Anatoly Chepiga, allegedly, the real name of Ruslan Boshirov, one of the suspects in the Skripal poisoning case.

"The British media has come to another "right" conclusion in the Salisbury story: seeing that no one in Moscow has brought forward Chepiga over the past few days, then Boshirov is Chepiga, or Chepiga is Boshirov,", or Chepiga is Boshirov," the diplomat wrote on Monday on her Facebook page, commenting on the UK media reports concerning the Skripal case.

"Our British colleagues act in a plain and simple way: they ask Moscow to show "GRU officers," "heroes of Russia" and other virtual so-called participants of the drama, and for their part, they refuse to share anything about the investigation, besides political statements and leaks to the fake media created especially for this purpose," she noted.

Zakharova added that London acts according to the principle "we accuse you, you defend yourself." "I will repeat myself: before Chepiga, we would like to see Skripal," the diplomat concluded.

Oct. 2, 2018 - Russia’s foreign intelligence chief blasts Skripal case as ‘crude provocation’
Russia’s foreign intelligence chief blasts Skripal case as ‘crude provocation’

According to Naryshkin, "even if one assumed that some secret service had really been given such a task, the way it went about that business was very unprofessional".

The director of Russia’s foreign intelligence SVR, Sergei Naryshkin, believes that the Skripal case was a crude provocation.

"Even if one assumes that some secret service was really given such a mission, the way it handled this case was very unprofessional. I can say once again that it was a crude provocation," Naryshkin said at a presentation of the two-volume edition A History of Crimea at TASS, when asked for comment on the Skripal saga.

If the British version is to be believed, former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4 were affected by a Novichok class nerve agent applied to the handle of the door of their home in Salisbury. London claimed that Moscow was highly likely involved in this incident. Moscow strongly dismissed all speculations on that score, saying that no programs for making such a substance had ever existed in the former Soviet Union or Russia.

On September 5, British Prime Minister Theresa May briefed parliament on the investigation’s findings to declare that two Russians carrying passports issued in the names of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were suspected accomplices in the assassination attempt. Britain regards both men as GRU agents. Petrov and Boshirov in an interview to the RT television channel dismissed the charges.

The Daily Telegraph last Thursday claimed it knew the real name of the person suspected of the assassination attempt against the Skripals. The newspaper said that the man originally identified as Ruslan Boshirov was in reality Russian Colonel Anatoly Chepiga, a holder of several government awards.

Oct. 3, 2018 - Putin bashes ex-Russian intelligence officer Skripal as ‘traitor and scum’
Putin bashes ex-Russian intelligence officer Skripal as ‘traitor and scum’

According to the Russian president, the Skripal poisoning case is artificially being blown out of proportion.

Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal branding him 'scum' and a 'traitor.' "Some media outlets are trying to put forward the idea that Skripal was practically a human rights defender," Putin said. "He is simply a spy and a traitor to his country. He is just scum and that is it."

According to the Russian president, the Skripal poisoning case is artificially being blown out of proportion.

"A separate media campaign was put in place regarding this issue," Putin said. "I think this will blow over sooner or later. I hope that it will come to an end, and the sooner the better."

"All this squabbling between the special services didn’t just surface yesterday," he said. "As we all know, espionage just like prostitution is one of the world’s most important professions. No one has ever shut it down, nor is anyone still able to close it down."

Also here:
Oct. 3, 2018 - Putin calls poisoned ex-spy Skripal a scumbag and traitor
Putin calls poisoned ex-spy Skripal a scumbag and traitor | Reuters

Oct. 2, 2018 - Ukraine Minister says Skripal suspect helped ex-leader flee in 2014
Ukraine minister says Skripal suspect helped ex-leader flee in 2014 | Reuters

Ukraine’s interior minister said on Tuesday a suspect in the Skripal poisoning case, working for Russian military intelligence, had been identified in Ukraine as a man who helped the former Ukrainian president flee to Russia in 2014.

It was not immediately clear whether minister Arsen Avakov was citing information from Ukrainian intelligence or quoting the accounts of journalists. He released a statement following a meeting with a British minister.

His spokesman declined to comment further. A lawyer for former President Viktor Yanukovich, who escaped to Russia in February 2014 during a wave of street protests, has previously denied that the Skripal suspect had helped Yanukovich.


FOTCM Member
In this week a second helicopter crash happened in Russia. This time deputy prosecutor Saak Karapetyan got killed and he is also one critic of the Skripal case, where he criticized the UK.

A leading law enforcement official has been killed in a helicopter crash in central Russia.Russia’s Investigative Committee said three bodies were identified in the Kostroma region crash. It opened a criminal case into safety rule violations that led to the deadly crash. The incident became the second aviation accident this week after a helicopter crashed in Siberia on Monday, killing two passengers.

The Prosecutor General’s Office confirmed to news agencies that deputy prosecutor Saak Karapetyan was among the victims.
“Early indications suggest Saak Albertovich, 58, was among the passengers aboard this helicopter,” the Prosecutor General’s spokesman Alexander Kurennoy was quoted as saying by the state-run TASS news agency.

Initial reports said the Eurocopter AS530 belonged to Heliport Moscow, a three-hectare multifunctional center for storing and servicing helicopters. The company said the single-engine French chopper belonged to an unidentified private company based at the multifunctional center.

Kurennoy denied the regional administration’s claims that the helicopter had been on an unauthorized flight.

Western media cited an "insider" that he leaked information to the West or wanted to do that. The story cannot get any worse and reads like a political soap opera played by the west.

Senior Russian Prosecutor Killed in Helicopter Crash


The Living Force
In this week a second helicopter crash happened in Russia. This time deputy prosecutor Saak Karapetyan got killed and he is also one critic of the Skripal case, where he criticized the UK.

Western media cited an "insider" that he leaked information to the West or wanted to do that. The story cannot get any worse and reads like a political soap opera played by the west.

Senior Russian Prosecutor Killed in Helicopter Crash

This morning, a report of a Military jet crashing in an unpopulated area of Moscow. Pilots ejected safely.

Oct. 5, 2018 - MiG-29 jet crashes near Moscow — source
MiG-29 jet crashes near Moscow — source

A MiG-29 jet has crashed near Moscow. Both pilots ejected from the cockpit, a law enforcement source told TASS.

The plane crashed far away from populated areas, causing no casualties or damage on the ground. At present, emergency personnel are examining the scene of the accident.

The MiG-29 belonged to the Gromov Flight Research Institute.


The Living Force
Not directly related to the Skripal case but an interesting reference to Russia in Salisbury?

The event’s organizers weren’t thrilled with the design of the promotional material for the concert, and insisted that the performance doesn’t have anything to do with the Skripal case.

Oct. 5, 2018 - Salisbury Church to hold 'From Russia With Love' Concert - Reports
Salisbury Church to Hold 'From Russia With Love' Concert - Reports

A piano concert titled ‘From Russia With Love’ is expected to be held at St. Martins Church in Salisbury, according to The Daily Mail.

The concert, its name apparently a reference to the eponymous James Bond story, will feature classical music from Russian composers, including the works of Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich.

Gill Bolton, one of the event’s organizers, told the newspaper that she was 'not best pleased' with the design of the posters promoting the concert, emblazoned with Russia's flag and a big love heart.

"It's a pity we chose that title. The music itself has nothing to do with it [the current events]. It's quite upbeat. I hope people have looked beyond the title and instead look at the program of music,” Bolton said, adding that the music that will be performed at the concert was composed "well before any conflict."

She also remarked that the concerts’ program for the forthcoming season was actually planned "about a year in advance" and that "it's not really anything to do with the Skripals and that sort of thing."

28.09.2018 - Salisbury to be Rebranded after Skripal Case caused Tourism slump - Official
Salisbury to Be Rebranded After Skripal Case Caused Tourism Slump - Official

A team of consultants has been tasked to "rebrand" the UK city of Salisbury in order to make up for the decline in tourist flow related to the poisoning of former Russian double agent Skripal and his daughter that took place in the city in March, the Guardian reported.

Salisbury is world-renowned, but not for the reasons we would want it to be. I think what we need to do is almost rebrand. We are going through exactly that. We have employed consultants who are doing some work to get under the skin of Salisbury," Pauline Church, Wiltshire Council's cabinet member for economic development and Salisbury recovery, said at a public meeting at city hall, as quoted by the Guardian newspaper.

According to the reports, the number of tourists arriving to Salisbury has declined by almost 14 percent compared to the last year's figures, with the Salisbury Cathedral, the Salisbury Museum and the Salisbury Playhouse theater all reporting drops in numbers of visitors.

Church went on to say that Salisbury was "the most beautiful city," and that the consultants would try to change the public's new perception of it that followed the attack.

According to her, all the locations that had been closed following the incident and the July Amesbury poisoning have been decontaminated and were now open for the public.

Since the Wiltshire Council hopes to see visitors returning to Salisbury, it will organize food markets and a literary festival in the city, and also open an ice rink.


The Living Force
05.10.2018 - Exclusive: Sputnik Gatecrashes Launch of Mark Urban's Book 'The Skripal Files'
EXCLUSIVE: Sputnik Gatecrashes Launch of Mark Urban's Book 'The Skripal Files'


A grinning Luke Harding and Mark Urban in conversation.

The groundfloor of the nearby Waterstones — not merely the biggest bookshop in London, but Europe overall — is similarly lively and loud, although three lengthy flights of stairs above, all is deathly silent. That's not for a lack of people — a sizeable crowd sits in rapt anticipation, waiting with baited breath for the arrival of Mark Urban, BBC Diplomatic and Defense Editor, and Luke Harding, Guardian foreign correspondent.

They're gathered for the official launch of Urban's latest book, The Skripal Files. Based on hours of exclusive interviews conducted with Sergei Skripal in the year before his poisoning in March, it's said to be "the definitive account of how Skripal's story fits into the wider context of the new spy war between Russia and the West".

Attendees are promised an evening of invaluable insight into "the dynamic between Russia and the West at present: where we are after Skripal's poisoning, and where this charged global dynamic may be leading us". Piccadilly's a fitting venue for the talk indeed — home to both the Itsu restaurant where in November 2006 Alexander Litvinenko dined with nuclear waste expert Mario Scaramella, leaving traces of polonium-210 in their wake, and ‘In and Out', a private members club in which MI5 and MI6 are said to have recruited many an agent during the Cold War.

Fashionably Late
Half an hour later, with the event meant to be underway, no sign of Urban or Harding and all complimentary glasses of wine comprehensively drained, the throng's collective patience has understandably faltered and conversations — in both English and Russian — have broken out everywhere. However, their din is eventually extinguished by the lanky compere's announcement that the dynamic duo have arrived, followed in short order by their actual arrival.

Sat on stage, Harding quickly sets the tone for the evening, managing to variously refer to The Skripal Files as "terrific", "brilliant", and "superb" in the span of less than a minute and informing Urban he "loves his writing style", all the while sporting a thoroughly appreciative, reverent beam, which won't fade for the duration of their discussion.

Nonetheless, his first query is a potentially problematic one for Urban — how was it he came to meet Skripal so long before the double agent became the subject of long-running international controversy? After all, he has a spooky knack for always being in the right place at the right time, having a front-row seat as events of seismic significance unfold. Moreover, it was contact Urban didn't disclose publicly until several months after the incident.

Urban explains he'd wanted to write a book about the history of East-West Espionage for some time — the uncovering of the ‘Illegals Program' in 2010 and subsequent ‘spy swap' that saw Skripal returned to Britain provided him a compelling opening wedge.

He then set about attempting to get in touch with Skripal, an apparently unproblematic feat given Skripal's name, address and contact details were freely available on the UK electoral register — a somewhat unbelievable lack of discretion for a man still actively working for four separate intelligence agencies. However, this intimate ‘in' to Skripal's life apparently wasn't sufficient, and it took some goading from "intelligence people" on Urban's radar to facilitate a meet between the two. Urban's embedment with a Red Army combat operation in Afghanistan in 1988, during which he interviewed Skripal's then-commander, was enough to cinch an initial meeting.

Jigsaw Man
When they finally rendezvoused in Skripal's MI6-bought home in Salisbury, he quickly began spilling the beans. While working in the Russian diplomatic mission in Madrid, Spain in 1995, he was approached by a "British guy" from the UK's local embassy — in fact an MI6 operative. They quickly struck up a warm bond, in reality a cultivation exercise — praised as "brilliantly effective" by Urban — aimed at turning Skripal double agent. It was apparently a relatively easy sell — the faceless "British character" simply showered Skripal and his wife Lyudmila with gifts, exploiting Skripal's oft-avowed irritation at not being sufficiently remunerated for his work.

"Lots of people who work in the intelligence services complain of the stingy pay!" Urban announces to some guffaws from the audience — how and why he's aware of this grievance goes unexplained, and unasked.

So it was that in exchange for a paltry initial payment of US$3,000, Skripal provided MI6 with sensitive details of the GRU's organizational and command structures, along with the names of many undercover agents. This covert relationship continued after Skripal returned to Moscow due to health reasons in 1996, with intelligence sent to Britain via the classic spy movie expedient of secret messages written in innocuous books using invisible ink. Lyudmila would then travel to Spain and deliver the tomes to his MI6 case officer.

The BBC journeyman concedes he found Skripal's conversion difficult to square with the man's apparently enduring patriotism — over the course of their conversations, it quickly became clear he viewed his home country extremely positively, praising the 2014 Crimean reunification and dismissing suggestions of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

"If we marched in, we would reach Kiev in days. The Ukrainians need leaders…they're sheep without a shepherd," he allegedly declared at one stage.

Such views were evidently extremely unwelcome to Urban, and he rationalizes this apparent cognitive dissonance — to himself and the audience — by suggesting Skripal was a "Soviet Nationalist", someone who still believed wholeheartedly in the struggle of Communism and Mother Russia against Western imperialism. The proposition seems to render Skripal's rapid conversion to double agent all the more baffling, especially given he'd investigated and captured traitors previously, and knew how easily he could be "busted" — but it does allow Urban to gloss over the awkward question of why Skripal didn't believe Russia was responsible for his poisoning upon regaining consciousness.

Questions & No Answers
A lack of explanation — at least, convincing explanation — is a recurrent theme over the course of the evening, as is the liberal use of the caveat "I think", especially when discussion turns to Skripal's poisoning itself.

Evidence of Russian state involvement in the attack, Urban says, is "overwhelming", to which Harding retorts "you don't believe they really were interested in seeing Salisbury's spire?" to widespread laughter — but when the chuckles fade, he seems hard-pressed to explain why the GRU would try to kill Skripal, especially in the manner they allegedly did, acknowledging just how transcendently inexplicable the UK government's official narrative of the case is, if only indirectly.

"It is strange they chose to do this so soon before Russia's Presidential election, and the World Cup…but ultimately we sent a team there, so…I mean still, why then? It does seem like unnecessary risk-taking and contrary to Russia's typical legalistic approach to issues, like Syria. The key turning point for me and I think a lot of other people was the RT interview. All that talk of ‘slush'…I think it was a deliberate show of contempt, of defiance, to warn other potential defectors. It's like the attempted hacking of the OCPW building…I mean…we do this stuff, but we don't get caught!" Urban rambles.

Getting nowhere on facts, Harding asks Urban whether he thinks Russian President Vladimir Putin is "proud" of the alleged GRU operation — again, the BBC's Diplomatic and Defense Editor seems stuck.

"I think Putin wouldn't think it was worth the risk…there must've been no briefing in advance. I mean, these guys' superior officer obviously didn't speak to him. They didn't use appropriate intermediaries…"

Evasive Manoeuvres
The talk terminated, Harding offers the audience the opportunity to ask questions of their own, in turn giving Urban the opportunity to bluster, mythologise and self-promote yet further. The collected learn, for instance, that despite having had no contact with him after the incident, Urban is absolutely certain Skripal is still alive, and was able to include material in his book on the double agent's thinking, health and activities since, due to tipoffs from "sources", whose identities he refuses to disclose.

His conversations with Skripal were also conducted "90 percent in English, seven percent in Russian, and two percent in Spanish" — which language comprised the remaining one percent, and how Skripal's apparently poor English skills weren't a significant barrier to communication, were again unexplained.

Indeed, such is the lack of clarity in evidence, Sputnik decide to raise the stakes.

"You've made several references to the ‘British character', and ‘British guy' who recruited Skripal. You of course mean the MI6 agent Pablo Miller, who you were in a tank regiment with in the British Army. Did he play any role in connecting the two of you, and what's the nature of your relationship with him today? And, why do you think the British government issued a D-notice blocking mention of him in the media after Skripal was poisoned?" we enquire.

The questions are enough to transform Harding's previously indefatigable beam into a frown, and Urban looks someway more displeased. After a few rare seconds of silence from both, Urban breaks the impasse.

"OK…well…there's quite a lot of questions in there…erm…firstly, I don't accept the first part of your question, that he was the person I was alluding to earlier. I just don't. Yes…I did serve with him [Miller] in the army, I left the regiment in 1983, our lives went very different paths and they diverged…and that's that really. There's no D-notice on him, there's a reminder of a standing D-notice concerning identities of members of the intelligence services. If you want to understand how D-notices work, ask yourself to what extent that restricted discussions of Christopher Steele. Did that stop anyone from publishing his name? No, because it has no legal force. Journalists did look at that angle and found nothing, but if they'd found something of substance I don't think they would've felt at all restrained from publishing," Urban intones.

Attempts by Sputnik to respond are desperately drowned out by an evidently flustered Harding, who moves onto another questioner, the last audience query he'll solicit.

Do Not Publish
Were it not for the Guardian journalist's stifling intervention, perhaps the true nature of the D-notice issued March 7 could've been outlined by Sputnik— for it's somewhat different to what Urban alleges.

"The issue surrounding the identity of former MI6 informer Sergei Skripal is already widely available in the public domain. However, the identities of intelligence agency personnel associated with Sergei Skripal are not yet widely available in the public domain. The provisions of DSMA Notice 05 therefore apply to these identities. If any editor is currently considering publication of such material, may I ask you to seek [the] advice [of the Defense and Security Media Advisory Committee] before doing so?"

The wording — particularly "intelligence agency personnel associated with Sergei Skripal" — may account for why in an article published the same day as the D-notice, the Daily Telegraph declined to mention the name of a "security consultant" employed by the company that compiled the Fusion GPS ‘dodgy dossier' on Donald Trump, "who lived close to Skripal and is understood to have known him for some time". This is almost certainly a description of Miller.

Furthermore, that the D-notice didn't block reference to Christopher Steele in the media is entirely unsurprising, given his name had been "widely available in the public domain" for over a year prior to the poisoning, due to his unmasking as the mastermind behind Fusion GPS' utterly discredited Trump dossier. References to Steele in the mainstream media would thus not contravene the D-notice's requirements — conversely, any editor seeking the "advice" of the DSMAC may well have been asked not to mention Miller.

Urban has been contacted for clarification on these key points, but as of October 5, a reply is as yet unforthcoming.

(My opinion - the book is a smokescreen and a DUD (nothing-burger)? Questions still remain, "Is Sergei Skripal alive and what is the status of his health condition? Is he in protective custody and where/why? What has happened to his Daughter, Julia? )


The Living Force
16/10/2018 - Russia's foreign minister slams Brexit Britain for using EU to hurt Russia: exclusive
Russia's foreign minister slams Brexit Britain for using EU to hurt Russia: exclusive

Russia’s Foreign Minister has hit out at the UK saying they used the EU to facilitate sanctions against Russia in the wake of the Novichok scandal.

Sergey Lavrov’s criticism came hours after the EU unveiled a sanctions regime that could target people and entities worldwide who create or deploy chemical weapons.

“It's very funny how, after Salisbury, British representatives have been running around Europe, calling on other EU countries to support sanctions,” Lavrov told Euronews’ Moscow correspondent Galina Polonskaya in an exclusive interview.

“They managed to convince not all, but many, to expel our diplomats after Salisbury. Now they are coming up with some new, systemic sanctions which will be mandatory for all the EU against any violators of the ban on chemical weapons."

“So a country, which is leaving the European Union, is frantically trying to influence EU policy towards Russia.”

Around 18 countries in the EU expelled dozens of Russian diplomats in March after former Russian spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter were poisoned by a military-grade nerve agent, Novichok, in Salisbury, southern England.

Following toxicology tests and the identification of two Russian suspects, found to be secret agents, the UK has held Moscow “ultimately” responsible for the attack, which led to the death of a British national when the discarded poison was found in a nearby park.
Moscow denies the allegations.

"Where is Yulia Skripal? Where is Sergey Skripal?" said Lavrov. "If all we have been given is the (dead) body of a cat, of a hamster and, I am sorry, a poor homeless woman, some kind of a perfume bottle — all of this looks grotesque."

Lavrov also warned against manoeuvres to have Russia expelled from the Council of Europe (CoE).

Earlier in October, CoE secretary Thorbjorn Jagland threatened to have them kicked out if they didn’t resume payments into its budget. Russia cut funding to the international body after their delegation was stripped of voting rights in the wake of the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

“Those who have destroyed this space with illegitimate actions which remove rights from the Russian delegation — I am convinced they know exactly what are they doing.

“If they want to expel Russia from the Council of Europe - we will not give them the pleasure, we will leave it ourselves.”

euronews‏Verified account @euronews

EXCLUSIVE | Russia’s Foreign Minister has hit out at the UK for using the EU to facilitate sanctions against Russia in the wake of the Novichok scandal. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with Euronews' @polonskayaFR. Watch the interview here:


The Living Force
When do they stop playing this stupid game? The U.S. - should know better! Is our "intel" that weak ... that they can's see through this staged Hollywood production? The script has been reworked and revised so many times, I bet they can't even remember the first "lie"?

November 6, 2018 - US intends more sanctions on Russia over Chemical Weapons: spokeswoman
U.S. intends more sanctions on Russia over chemical weapons: spokeswoman | Reuters

The U.S. State Department intends to impose more sanctions on Russia for failing to meet conditions under an international chemical weapons law after a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in Britain in March, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

“Today, the Department informed Congress we could not certify that the Russian Federation met the conditions required by the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991,” spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

“We intend to proceed in accordance with the terms of the CBW Act, which directs the implementation of additional sanctions,” she said.


The Living Force
November 6, 2018 - US intends more sanctions on Russia over Chemical Weapons: spokeswoman
U.S. intends more sanctions on Russia over chemical weapons: spokeswoman | Reuters

November 7, 2018 - New US Sanctions over Chemical Weapons would be 'illegal': Kremlin
New U.S. sanctions over chemical weapons would be 'illegal': Kremlin | Reuters

Russia would consider any new chemical weapons-related sanctions imposed by the United States to be illegal, a Kremlin spokesman said on Wednesday.

The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday it would impose additional sanctions on Russia after Moscow failed to give reasonable assurances it would not use chemical weapons after a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in England.

“We consider restrictions imposed by the United States against Russia illegal,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters.


The Living Force
December 17, 2018 - Inside the Temple of Covert Propaganda: The Integrity Initiative and the UK’s Scandalous Information War
Inside the Temple of Covert Propaganda: The Integrity Initiative and the UK's Scandalous Information War - Grayzone Project

Recent hacked documents have revealed an international network of politicians, journalists, academics, researchers and military officers, all engaged in highly deceptive covert propaganda campaigns funded by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), NATO, Facebook and hardline national security institutions.

This “network of networks”, as one document refers to them, centers around an ironically named outfit called the Integrity Initiative. And it is all overseen by a previously unknown England-based think tank registered in Scotland, the Institute for Statecraft, which has operated under a veil of secrecy.

The whole operation appears to be run by, and in conjunction with, members of British military intelligence.

According to David Miller, professor of political sociology in the school of policy studies at the University of Bristol and the director of the Organization for Propaganda Studies, the Integrity Initiative “appears to be a military directed push.”

“The most senior government people are professional propagandists and spooks,” Miller explained. “The ‘charity’ lead on this [Chris Donnelly] was also appointed as a colonel in military intelligence at the beginning of the project — a truly amazing fact that suggests this is a military intelligence cut out.”

A minister for the UK FCO has officially confirmed that it has been funding the Integrity Network.

In addition to conducting diplomacy, the FCO oversees both the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) the UK equivalent to the National Security Agency, and the Secret Intelligence Services (SIS) commonly known as MI6.

SOURCE: National Intelligence Machinery, UK government briefing November 2010

The think tank that oversees the Integrity Initiative, the Institute for Statecraft, has also received funding from the British Army and Ministry of Defense.

The entire extremely shady enterprise, as Miller explained, is an elaborate front for the British military-intelligence apparatus. Its covert coordination with friendly politicians and mainstream journalists recalls the Cold War-era intrigue known as Operation Mockingbird.

That scandal involved the unmasking of “more than 400 American journalists who…in the past twenty-five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency,” as Carl Bernstein revealed in a 1977 Rolling Stone report.

The exposing of the Integrity Initiative has just scratched the surface of what appears to be a much more sophisticated, insidious, and extremely online version of Operation Mockingbird. With new internal documents appearing each week through a hacker’s organization called Anonymous Europe, the revelations are yielding one of the most potentially explosive national security scandals in recent times.

But even as members of Britain’s parliament thunder with demands for official accountability, the UK and US mainstream media still strangely refuses to touch the story.

Smearing left-wing political figures in NATO member states

The Integrity Initiative claims that it is “counter[ing] Russian disinformation and malign influence,” and indeed, the main players behind it appear intent on hyping the Russian threat to justify ramped up military budgets and a long-term war footing.


Above: An Institute for Statecraft memo emphasizes the need for “ramping up” anti-Russian messaging.

But the Integrity Initiative has also trained its fire on perceived subversives inside NATO member states, including the UK.

An article attacking left-wing activists that was listed in the “Recent Posts” section of the Integrity Initiative website.

The Integrity Initiative waged a successful covert campaign to destroy the appointment of Pedro Baños to Director of Spain’s National Security Department on the bogus grounds that he was “pro-Kremlin,” thus interfering in the affairs of a fellow EU and NATO member. It carried out the hit job through a hand-picked “cluster” of Spanish politicians and operatives to flood social media and sympathetic outlets with messages demonizing Baños.


Above: an Integrity Initiative document detailing how the group’s clusters destroyed a Spanish national security appointee.
The Integrity Initiative appears to have employed the same tactics to smear left-wing journalists and political figures across the West,
including the leader of the UK’s Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn.

Member of Parliament Chris Williamson – a close ally of Corbyn – is now openly and indignantly calling for “a public inquiry into the Integrity Initiative and similar information war efforts being funded by our government.”

It is not necessarily illegal for the FCO to direct propaganda towards its own citizenry, according to Miller of the Organization for Propaganda Studies. However, he said that “it is not legal for ministers to effectively direct a charity. Thus, if the MoD through military intelligence are effectively running a charity, that would be contrary to law.”

An abandoned mill in Scotland covers for an active office in London’s “Temple”

To conceal its potentially illegal activities, the Institute for Statecraft has employed a web of deceptions. Not only did they hide their government funding, the outfit listed a fake location as its address.

Mohammed Elmaazi, a co-author of this piece, discovered the elaborately hidden location of the Institute for Statecraft inside a posh warren of barristers’ offices in London. Elmaazi’s swift ejection from the premises confirmed the lengths that this shadowy organization continues to go to to avoid public scrutiny.

The Institute for Statecraft, is a registered charity in Scotland, whose registered office is listed as being an old mill in Fife Scotland involved in the “manufacture of wood and other products.” David Scott of UK Column news, visited the registered office in Fife only to find a “an empty, semi-derelict, partly demolished, building.”

The partially demolished address at Gateside Mills. Photo: David Scott

While the address in Fife, Scotland appears to be a derelict building, the London address listed in the hacked documents is fully operational, so far as Elmaazi could tell.

He located the offices belonging to The Institute for Statecraft at the Embankment at Two Temple Place in London. It shares offices in the basement of a “spectacular neo-gothic mansion” which is owned or leased by The Bulldog Trust, an organization dedicated to “promoting culture and philanthropy”. This area, known as “the Temple,” is filled with barristers’ chambers and used to serve as the precinct for the Knights of Templar.


A Christmas themed projection lights up the walls of 2 Temple Place. Photo: Mohamed Elmaazi.

Elmaazi found the offices on December 6, having nearly given up and becoming convinced that he would discover nothing more than was found at the derelict house in Fife. When he arrived at the location, preparations were underway for some sort of Christmas-themed event to be held in the main building on the ground floor. But upon discovering the signs pointing downstairs to the basement, Elmaazi found himself staring at a door with a sign that read, “The Institute for Statecraft / The Fore.”


Photo: Mohamed Elmaazi

No comment

Elmaazi rang the Institute for Statecraft’s doorbell and was eventually let in by a well-dressed elderly gentleman in a beige overcoat. The man claimed that he worked neither at The Institute nor at The Fore but at “another organization.” He then called out for “Charles.” Having walked in, Elmaazi could see a few smaller offices to the side, with a larger planned office with tables and computers around the corner.

A man whom Elmaazi presumed was “Charles” came around the corner and called out, “Yes?” He seemed somewhat confused by the journalist’s presence, understandably so as he was there without an appointment. When “Charles” confirmed that he worked with the Institute for Statecraft, Elmaazi identified himself as a journalist and asked if he would be willing to be interviewed. The request was met with a curt refusal.

“Charles” then guided Elmaazi sternly with his hand back to the entrance. When the journalist repeated his request, he was met with stone silence. And that was that.

A “Charles Hart” is listed as the chairman of the Institute for Statecraft, but no photo is available to confirm that Hart was the same “Charles” that Elmaazi met.

The neocon connection

Two buildings away from the Institute for Statecraft, separated only by the home of British American Tobacco, lies the offices of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). This think tank is key organ of the Western foreign policy establishment,
pushing military interventionism and promoting the Saudi-backed Syrian opposition-in-exile.
Among the funders of IISS is the Smith Richardson Foundation.

(Article continued in next Post.)


The Living Force
This foundation also happens to be a supporter of the Integrity Initiative, providing it with £45,000 (about $56,600 USD) for covert propaganda activities in Europe and the US.


The Smith Richardson Foundation was founded by billionaire heir to the Vicks fortune, H. Smith Richardson, in 1935. In 1973, the founder’s son, Randolph Richardson – a free market fundamentalist and long-time patron of neoconservative ideologue Irving Kristol – inherited the organization.

Kristol’s son, William Kristol, is a co-founder of the Project for a New American Century which openly called for the US to assert itself as the single global hegemon following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Recipients of funding from the Smith Richardson Foundation include a who’s who of neoconservative and militaristic right-wing institutions. The foundation has bankrolled neoconservative outfits like the American Enterprise Institute (to the tune of nearly $10 million since 1998), the Hudson Institute, the Institute for the Study of War, Freedom House, the Hoover Institution, the
Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, along with Democratic Party-aligned think tanks like the Center for New American Security and the Center for American Progress.

“To say the [Smith Richardson] foundation was involved at every level in the lobbying for and crafting of the so-called global war on terror after 9/11 would be an understatement,” wrote Kelley Vlahos in a profile of Nadia Schadlow, a former Trump administration deputy national security advisor who previously worked as the senior program director for Smith Richardson.


Smith Richardson complements a roster of international funders backing the Integrity Initiative’s parent organization:

  1. HQ NATO Public Diplomacy, £12,000 for each inaugural workshop = £168,000
  2. Partner institutions £5,000 for each inaugural workshop = £70,000
  3. NATO HQ for educational video films – free provision of camera team
  4. Lithuanian MOD to provide free all costs for their stratcom team for a monthly trip to support a new hub/cluster creation and to educate cluster leaders and key people in Vilnius in infowar techniques = £20,000
  5. US State Dept, for research and dissemination activities
  6. Smith Richardson Foundation, £45,000 for cluster activities in Europe and USA
    1. (excluding any activity in USA) = £250,000
    2. Smith Richardson Foundation, £45,000 for cluster activities in Europe and USA
    3. Facebook, £100,000 for research and education activities
    4. German business community, £25,000 for research and dissemination in EU countries
      A covert asset in the Bernie campaign?
      Elmaazi, the co-author of this piece, was not the only reporter to gain momentary access to the Institute for Statecraft’s hidden location at 2 Temple Place. On December 11, five days after Elmaazi’s visit, Kit Klarenberg of Sputnik Radio entered the covert propaganda mill’s neo-gothic offices. As soon as he identified himself as a journalist, he was angrily ejected by an Institute for Statecraft staffer named Simon Bracey-Lane.

      “You need to leave right now!” Bracey-Lane barked at Klarenberg. “You haven’t arranged to see us! Go! Right now! Please leave immediately! Leave!”

      Bracey-Lane is a 20-something British citizen with no publicly acknowledged experience in intelligence work. But as Klarenberg noted, there are some unusual details in the young staffer’s bio.
In 2016, Bracey-Lane appeared out of nowhere to work in Iowa as a field organizer for the Bernie Sanders campaign for president.


Simon Bracey-Lane being interviewed in Bernie Sanders’ Iowa field office on January 27, 2016

“I spent a year working, saving all my money, just thought I was gonna go on a two month road trip from Seattle to New York and I thought, you know what? I’m gonna stay and work for the Bernie Sanders campaign,” Bracey-Lane told a reporter for AFP on January 27, 2016.

He said that after he decided to work for Bernie, he first went to England to “get a visa and get everything legal,” then came back to join the campaign in earnest.

Bracey-Lane also claimed to AFP, “I’m not sure there’s a place for me in British politics… I’ve never been struck by an urge to work in
my own political system.”

However, a February 1, 2016 profile of Bracey-Lane by Buzzfeed’s Jim Waterson said the Brit-for-Bernie “was inspired to rejoin the Labour party in September [2015] when Corbyn was elected leader. But by that point, he was already in the US on holiday.”

It is clearly odd for Bracey-Lane to tell one reporter that he had never had any interest in British politics, while claiming to another that he had been eager to support Corbyn before he joined the Bernie campaign. What’s more, as Klarenberg reported, Bracey-Lane went on to establish a get-out-the-vote effort for various progressive politicians and parties in Britain’s 2017 general election, gaining inside access to a wide array of campaigns.

The contradiction in Bracey-Lane’s narrative raises serious questions about his real role on the Bernie campaign, as does his suddenly transition from progressive politics to a staff position at a military-backed propaganda farm that waged a covert information war on Corbyn and other left-leaning politicians across the West.

An Institute for Statecraft document on “roles and relevant experience” of the outfit’s “expert team” notes that Bracey-Lane conducted a “special study of Russian interference in the US electoral process.” The document does not make clear when that study was conducted, however, it is listed directly next to its author’s history of work with the Bernie campaign.

“At Thanksgiving, I was asked, why are you meddling?” Bracey-Lane remarked to Reuters, referring to his work for Bernie Sanders. “Which is an interesting way to phrase it, but I was happy to answer: it needs meddling with.”

Those comments take on an entirely different meaning now that the former Bernie field worker has been outed as part of a British military-intelligence influence operation.

In the coming days, the Grayzone will take a closer look at the Integrity Initiative’s activity inside the US, and whether it is interfering in American politics as it has done in other NATO member states.
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