What damned cheek to murder a Russian defector and his daughter in the sleepy town of Salisbury! Britain, the US, Germany and Canada are all blasting Russia for this dastardly act that was apparently committed using a new nerve agent allegedly made in Russia known to the media as ‘Novichok.’
The victims of the attack, Sergei Skripal and his daughter, are now under intensive care in the hospital and said to be in grave condition. Britain’s embattled Prime Minister, Theresa May, accused Russia of staging an act of war against Britain and vows revenge. Without yet producing any solid proof.
The Salisbury attack has sharply boosted May’s fortunes and her standing with voters. Before the incident, she was sinking in the post-Brexit storm and facing a Tory rebellion.
But moral outrage won’t buy you lunch. Serious observers must begin asking the obvious question, ‘if the wicked Vlad Putin ordered this crime, why?’ A week before Russia’s national elections? At a time when Russia is being badly hurt by US-imposed trade and financial sanctions?
The toxic substance used – if we are to believe the Brits – was reportedly only made in Russia for military use. Russia, by the way, is in the process of destroying its chemical weapons. Why would Russia use an easily-identified, signature weapon instead of bullets, an untraceable lethal spray (ask the CIA about these) or a seeming accident? Why a deadly toxin when a jab in the neck with a needle would do just as well?
To me, a veteran intelligence watcher and the only journalist shown the KGB’s collection of spycraft, I suspect the attack on the Skripals was more likely done by rogue Russian intelligence agents or by an old-boys network of revenge-seeking retired KGB agents. Maybe even to embarrass President Putin on election eve.
Skripal was no innocent lamb. He had secretly worked for British intelligence MI6, betraying fellow Soviet agents, for years across Europe for money. He was given refuge in Britain after the Cold War. There is nothing lower in the intelligence game than an agent who betrays for money – a Judas with his 30 pieces of silver.
Revenge is a dish best served cold, according to the old saying. KGB’s predecessors used to field a special unit called ‘Death to Spies,’ better known as ‘Smersh’ to liquidate traitors and turncoats. Readers of James Bond books will recognize Smersh. Moscow supposedly disbanded this outfit and its poison laboratories at the end of the Cold War. But my information is that it still exists, either officially or under cover.
Former KGB men are in high positions in Moscow. It’s my belief that it was the KGB that overthrew Boris Yeltsin and installed one of its agents, Vladimir Putin, in power. In 1988, I was told this would happen by KGB’s two most senior officials at its Lubyanka headquarters in Moscow.
There are also large numbers of retired ‘hard men’ of the KGB, or ‘siloviki,’ playing chess and missing the good old Soviet days. I have little doubt that an informal group of them could have acquired toxic agents from the old KGB Moscow poison lab, the notorious ‘Kamera’, as may have occurred in the 2006 poisoning in London of Russian defector, FSB intelligence agent Alexander Livinenko. He was also working for British intelligence and a bitter foe of Vladimir Putin.
London has long been a center for foes of Russia’s government. At KGB HQ I saw possessions belonging to ‘Ace of Spies’ Sydney Reilly dating from the 1920’s when British agent Reilly tried to overthrow the new Soviet government. British intelligence and Russia/Soviet Union were the most bitter of enemies. Moscow called London ‘a nest of spies’ – which, of course, it is. But no longer a haven of security for Russian defectors.
Britain’s current moral outrage over the attempted murder should be tempered by its own sinister record of assassinations, extrajudicial killings and skullduggery.
British bombs bought by Saudi Arabia are now blasting Yemen, killing thousands. The full story of Secret Air Service (SAS) lethal operations in Yemen and Oman remain to be told. People who live in glass houses…