Excl: Cornell Chemistry Professor: “Novichok so simple many labs could do it”

collum cornell.png
Cornell University Professor of Organic Chemistry David Collum

Boris Johnson is on a hook of his own making after he was exposed as making a false claim in an interview that Porton Down chemical weapons facility had ‘categorically’ told him there was no doubt that Russia was the source of the poison used in the Salisbury attack. Porton Down’s CEO yesterday told Sky News that the facility had not identified the source.

Johnson’s embarrassment has been compounded by the revelation that the Foreign Office (FCO) – which initially dismissed Johnson’s falsehood by saying he ‘misspoke – had also tweeted the claim. The FCO deleted that tweet yesterday when Porton Down’s admission was garnering attention.

The PR/diversion exercise

The Establishment machine has kicked in to try to exonerate Johnson, with the BBC editing video to make Johnson’s lie less obvious and claiming that it can’t find footage it has only just shown.

The front page of the Times even ludicrously claimed that ‘Ministers and security officials” were suddenly able to identify not only the country of manufacture but the very laboratory it was made in.


Given the complete lack of substance provided before now – and the fact that the OPCW won’t even confirm what the substance is before next week – this sudden, extreme claim looks likely to be little more than a desperate reference to the “secret Novichok assassination programme” to which former ambassador Craig Murray referred during a video interview with Sky News on Wednesday.

The other key thrust of the PR exercise has been to ignore the fact of Johnson’s ‘fake news’ in favour of claiming that it must be Russia, as only a ‘state actor‘ could possibly manufacture a Novichok agent.

The chemistry professor

Cornell University is one of America’s ‘Ivy League’ educational institutions. As of 2017, it could claim fifty-six Nobel laureates and four Turing Award winners in its history.

So a claim by Cornell’s variously-published Professor of Organic Chemistry, David Collum, carries considerable weight.

And a week ago, Mr Cornell pre-emptively kicked the legs out from under the Establishment’s attempt to mask or excuse Johnson’s dishonesty.

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The bombshell

Professor Collum’s dismissal of the ‘must be Russia’ line could not be more emphatic – but he was prepared to go even further when the SKWAWKBOX asked him to provide further information on what level of laboratory set-up would be required to manufacture a ‘Novichok or related agent’ – the description provided by the UK’s Porton Down facility.

He told us:

The compounds are simple as hell to make. Doing so without killing yourself would be more challenging but within the capabilities of many laboratories.

‘Simple as hell’.

Not only is it possible that a non-state facility could manufacture – many non-state laboratories could do it safely.

Contrary to the claims of the government and its apologists, even just among ‘state actors’ Russia is far from the only known manufacturer of Novichok compounds. The following countries have produced them, are on record as having purchased/received them, or are linked to them by academic texts:

Academic texts:

• Iran
• Iraq
• Syria
• Czech
• Russia
• Cuba
• Uzbekistan





But Professor Collum’s expert statement on the simplicity of fabricating Novichoks and the relative ease of manufacturing them safely blows the field of possible sources wide open.

The hastily-erected ring-fence of PR and false assertions around Boris Johnson lies in small pieces around him. His – and the government’s – dishonesty and intentional misleading of the UK’s people are as naked as a newborn.

He – and his boss – have no place in office.

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  1. A scandal between a Tory minister and prostitutes brought a government down, is the best we can hope for is a nuclear war to bring this corrupt lying government down.

  2. This affair must bring down this Government and the entire establishment media propaganda machine with it. WE need to take a leaf out of their book and repeat this continuously and ensure it reaches deep,not just the Twittersphere.
    Interest in Russia has increased greatly this last week and in my searches yesterday I came across this piece that reveals a lot about why we have always considered Russia as the “Bogey Man” of the West.This is why it isn’t just the Government that has to have its feet in the fire, its the whole corrupt establishment machine behind them.


    1. The article referenced above by Corey Schink concludes “Modern Russia is a nuclear armed superpower that is organized by some of the most brilliant statesmen this planet has seen – they won’t be deceived, they won’t be out-gunned, and any attack on them will be an act of suicide.” His general thesis that the UK started the First World War is elaborated on by some of the commentators on the article who are of the opinion the the UK and USA started the Second World War and that Auschwitz and the other concentration camps were “Labor Camps” rather than death camps.
      And in another anti feminist article Corey Schink concludes “For the Feminist, the war on the family has been a resounding success – women have been ‘liberated’ from the ‘comfortable concentration camp’ of the family. In the process women are more likely to be unhappy, while many young women grow up feeling that a natural desire to raise a family is fundamentally wrong.”
      Corey Schink will NOT be added to my list of admired authors

      And finally, if and when Jeremy Corbyn forms a government and becomes the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom he will be “The Establishment”

      1. To say Corbyn “will be the establishment” is nonsense. Rather like after growing up in poverty in a slum, being told that spending 75 weeks at uni as an adult made me middle class.

        I recommend you to read Owen Jones book “The establishment and how they got away with it”. It should be an eye opener for you.

      2. Sorry Iain, but you DON’T become The Establishment just because you are elected PM, and to say such a thing is patently absurd. Who do you think has been behind the smear campaign of JC and his supporters during the past two-and-a-half years or more, that has NOW reached a crescendo in the past few weeks. Do you think that all the fraudulent claims of anti-semitism and bullying and sexual harrasment and homophobia and misogyny and abuse etc, etc were all just for the fun of it (although I have no doubt it has all been an endless source of amusement to them). Or could it be that they want to make damn sure JC never has a chance to be elected PM. But even if he WERE, do you really think and believe that the UK Establishment would somehow just melt away and evaporate into thin air.

        Do you not think that THEY would be doing everything they can to undermine and sabotage HIM and his government if he WERE to become PM. Of course they would, and YOU know it.

        Either you don’t live in the real world, or you are just trying – albeit pathetically – to discredit JC, and I can’t help wonder why you would want to try and do that. Unless you have an agenda, that is.

      3. Sorry – I should have said PART of the Establishment. There is no one correct definition of the establishment. To me the meaning is the supposedly original definition by (Per Wiki) “Henry Fairlie, who in September 1955 in the London magazine The Spectator defined that network of prominent, well-connected people as “the Establishment”, explaining:
        By the Establishment, I do not only mean the centres of official power—though they are certainly part of it—but rather the whole matrix of official and social relations within which power is exercised. The exercise of power in the United Kingdom (more specifically, in England) cannot be understood unless it is recognized that it is exercised socially.”
        To me, the UK government must be part of the establishment. They decide on policies to govern the UK. To implement those policies they rely on senior civil servants. Governments compromise on the implementation of their policies based on the experience and advise of the civil servants (Yes Minister!) Governments rely on corporations as well as individuals to pay tax and will not want wealthy corporations or wealthy individuals to move from the UK and diminish the tax base. Therefore there must be a relation between these wealthy tax payers and the government, which by necessity will require compromise by the government and the wealthy corporations/individuals. Scandinavian socialist states are built around cooperation, there is not a socialist state dictating every aspect of citizens lives.
        Other people will have other views on what the Establishment means but to me it HAS to include the party and individuals who govern the country, whatever political persuasion they are from

      4. Thanks for taking the time to elaborate Iain. I thought maybe you were taking a swipe at him…… over the past year or more – in the comments section of the Mail, for example – I’ve come across people who have said the same thing, implying that if he WERE to come to power, he would sell out all those people that believe in him and his policies. But never-the-less, I’m sure you take my point about the Establishment – the Elite/PTB – doing all they can to make sure THAT never happens. And for the obvious reason.

    2. David Cameron’s bigger lie (that there would be no top-down re-organisation of the NHS) didn’t bring the govt down so I won’t be holding my breath. The real fear is that it has added a justification to the US hawks in wanting a war with Russia…. but they are intent on that regardless of what lies Boris tells.

  3. Then there’s the video of British Ambassador to Russia Dr Laurie Bristow embedded in the link below, saying “there is no doubt that the weap0n used in the attack was the military nerve agent from the Novichok series. This has been confirmed by specialists, our specialists…… There is also no doubt that the Novichok was produced in Russia by the Russian state.” https://www.rt.com/uk/423162-russia-poison-government-twitter/?utm_source=browser&utm_medium=push_notifications&utm_campaign=push_notification

  4. This morning the story on the Today programme is that the govt has intelligence that it was Russia, and they didn’t deem Jeremy Corbyn to share it with!

  5. And the story this morning on Radio 4’s Today programme is that the govt has intelligence that the Novichok was used by the Russian state, but that they didn’t trust Jeremy Corbyn to have the information!

  6. I’ve only read the part of The Times article that is displayed in the article above (by enlarging it to 300%), but it gives the info I was wondering about in the third paragraph – ie WHEN did THEY know/learn about this “secret lab”:

    Britain knew about the existence of the facility where the novichok poison was made before the attack on March 4, it is understood. A Whitehall source added: “We knew pretty much by the time of the first Cobra [the emergency co-ordination briefing that took place the same week] that it was overwhelmingly likely to come from Russia.”


    Well isn’t it strange that they never mentioned this ‘secret lab’ once in all the more than five weeks since the alledged poisoning supposedly happened, and it only comes out NOW, the day AFTER Boris was exposed as a Big Liar. I mean if there was any truth to the Times article, then why would Boris have thought to lie in the now infamous interview and say Porton Down had informed him that it was categorically the Russians. Why would you fabricate THAT, and not just say that “we’ve known about a secret Russian lab where it was manufactured for some time now” etc,etc, or words to that effect.

    They just make it up as they go along of course, but in their arrogance they didn’t forsee the possibility of the people at Porton Down not going along with their script, or as Monsieur Griveaux, the French government spokesman put it, their “fantasy politics”.

    Keep on digging guys…….. you’ll soon be back where you belong!

    1. Afterthought: And why wouldn’t T May have mentioned it at any point, and especially when she did her so-called statement about the ‘Salisbury poisoning’ on Wednesday March 14th, and if they had incontrovertable evidence that the Novichok came from this Russian ‘secret lab’ (which they HAVEN’T of course, and the Times articcle says as much in effect), then WHY wouldn’t they have shared that information with the leader of the opposition at some point prior to the day she – T May – made her Commons statement on the matter.

      None of it adds up of course.

    2. Yes, they never even stated that it was made in Russia before!

      It is also interesting that somebody else was brought out to answer questions about Boris Johnson’s previous false statements.

      I can only assume that they thought it too risky to allow him to speak again on this subject.

  7. SB talking about investigations a colleague just posted an interesting piece on Guido Fawkes – see ‘Guido Fawkes linked to BNP’ at Tompride.wordpress.com (3/4/18) and his alleged ‘charming’ song: ‘FCS Bootboys’ readers may wish to explore?

  8. Just this minute checked my inbox, and there was one from The Times (that I receive several times a week having signed up for their two free articles a week offer a few months ago), and amongst the articles listed was this one:

    Corbyn defends joining in far-left group’s Passover satire

    Jeremy Corbyn joined a four-hour celebration by a far-left Jewish group where radicals chanted “f*** the police” and “f*** the armies”

    I didn’t click on it to read it (not yet anyway), but it’s hard to believe that it really happened, and given all the endless lies and smears – and particularly in view of the present mess May and Boris and Co have got themselves in to – I am of course wondering if it’s complete fabrication.


    1. Just did a general search (duckduckgo) to see what other papers were covering it, and nothing came up, not even The Times article. Very odd.

  9. Here is Wallace,security minister ‘That nerve agent has been identified to be manufactured, we BELIEVE, in Russia..We BELIEVE the novichok type of nerve agent is only capable of being produced by a nation state’This international incident,exploiting the trust of other EU states,exploiting Porton Down’s standing to buttress it,on the basis of belief is inexplicable and shoddy.
    Here is British ambassador to Russia Laurie Bristow briefing on 22 March [According to an official transcript of the speech]: “The analysts at Porton Down, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory in the UK, established and made clear that this was a military-grade chemical weapon. One of the novichok series; a nerve agent as I said produced in Russia.” https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/apr/04/skripal-poisoning-deleted-foreign-office-tweet-leads-to-awkward-questions No belief there.
    On and on
    ‘Aitkenhead said the government had reached its conclusion that Russia was responsible for the Salisbury attack by combining the laboratory’s scientific findings with information from other sources.’
    The lab findings were:’after the head of the Porton Down defence research laboratory said it had not established the nerve agent that poisoned Sergei and Yulia Skripal was made in Russia.’
    ‘which could probably be deployed only by a nation state’
    ‘De Bretton-Gordon told the Guardian: “Having seen a lot of various intelligence sources I feel 100% confident that the prime minister is correct that the Russians are guilty.’https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/apr/04/uk-urged-to-counter-disinformation-from-russia-over-novichok
    In other words A WITCH HUNT.For whatever reason.

  10. I think I’m turning into ‘Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells’ … I find myself wishing more and more for just ONE Tory wily enough not to get Britain’s arse slapped at every turn by everyone from Foster to Putin, Tusk to Yakovenko.
    Who’d have guessed that once-proud Tories could so easily be brainwashed into meekly accepting such humiliation?
    Wasn’t there once another PM who surrounded herself with weaklings, incompetents and yes-men but still got the shaft?

  11. The fact that the leader has not been allowed to see the information can only add to the suspicion that it is a stitch up of sorts.
    What is there to hide?
    Richard Dennis

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