As the SKWAWKBOX highlighted yesterday, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told a complete untruth to UK citizens – and was captured in a filmed interview – that he knew Russia was the source of the poison that affected the Skripals and a police officer in Salisbury because the scientists at Porton Down’s chemical weapons facility told him ‘categorically‘ that ‘there is no doubt‘ about its Russian origin.
A bombshell interview yesterday on Sky News exposed that claim to be a complete falsehood, as the head of Porton Down admitted his facility had not been able to identify a source for the toxin.
Video of both Johnson’s claim and the Porton Down admission can be seen here.
Mainstream journalists and commentators have spent most of the time since then attempting to rubbish and dismiss Johnson’s lie, mostly by claiming it’s not that important because other sources must exist that point to Russia or just because ‘who else could it be?’
Those claims miss the point to an extent that can legitimately be called disingenuous.
Johnson did not claim that he was sure because Porton Down’s analysis of the substance was part of a jigsaw of intelligence that pointed to Russia.
He didn’t claim that the Porton Down ‘guys’ couldn’t be sure, but on the balance of probabilities it still looked like Russia.
He said he knew because Porton Down said ‘categorically’ that there is no doubt‘.
It seems the Foreign Office is now trying to pretend the claim wasn’t made, because it has deleted a tweet it put out a couple of weeks ago making a similarly emphatic – and completely untrue – claim:
Not just that the chemical signature of the compound indicates it was a Novichok – or ‘related agent’, as everyone seems to add in small print or a small voice. But ‘produced in Russia‘.
More than twenty countries have expelled Russian diplomats because of its alleged involvement in the Salisbury attack. According to a commentator on Sky News this morning, of those twenty at least Germany and France – two major NATO nations – did so specifically because the UK government’s claimed certainty about the origin of the poison based on Porton Down’s analysis overcame their initial reluctance to take that step.
Now it emerges that there was no such certainty – and those two nations are now ‘asking serious questions’ of Johnson and May behind the scenes, while the Foreign Office tries, unsuccessfully, to hide the public evidence.
The UK’s foreign policy and its actions on the world stage have been driven by a piece of government-manufactured fake news. Boris Johnson – and his boss, Theresa May – must resign for their reckless disregard for the truth.
The UK deserves that gesture as a minimum consequence for their dangerous dishonesty.
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