- Russia still considered prime suspect
- Sergei Skripal and Maltese journalist Caruana Galizia both investigating Cambridge Analytica/SCL
- Both Sergei and Yulia Skripal have connections with Malta
- Russian whistleblower – and Caruana contact – Maria Efimova handed herself in to Greek police on hearing of Skripal attack, in spite of warrants for her arrest and risk of extradition
- Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie claims predecessor poisoned in Kenya
- Govt claim that Russia is only plausible suspect doesn’t stand up
These contortions have even gone as far as stretching years-old ‘news’ to claim that the government has identified the specific laboratory where the Salisbury toxin – which according to Cornell University chemistry professor David Collum is so simple that any number of commercial labs could make it – was produced.
However, the consensus – and the government’s line – has been that Russia had the most reason to attack Sergei Skripal.
That has already been challenged, with Irish newspapers in particular pointing out that, having exchanged Skripal with the UK in return for its own agents, Russia might stand to lose out on future exchanges if it targeted the subject of a previous one.
But on balance the lack of solid evidence pointing to Russia hasn’t meant they weren’t the most likely suspects.
Daphne Caruana Galizia
However, it shouldn’t pass without comment that Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia – murdered by a car bomb – is known to have been investigating Cambridge Analytica, the firm at the centre of the huge Facebook data scandal and exposed by Channel 4 News discussing dirty tricks to swing election campaigns – as Labour MP Ben Bradshaw raised in a Commons debate. She was also investigating its parent company SCL.
Caruana Galizia also had connections to another Russian, whistleblower and alleged embezzler Maria Efimova – who handed herself over to Greek police after hearing about the Salisbury poisoning, in spite of warrants outstanding for her arrest. Maltese media had even claimed that Efimova was Caruana Galizia’s source for information on a company she was investigating.
Meanwhile, Skripal – today said to making a ‘shock recovery’ a day after his daughter told a Russian relative, during a recorded phone call, that he was on the mend – was also said by a source close to the Russian to have been investigating… Cambridge Analytica.
In addition, Skripal – before his arrest and conviction in Russia for betraying secrets to the UK intelligence services – was on long term assignment in Spain and… Malta – where his daughter Yulia is also known to have spent time.
In a further interesting coincidence, Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie has claimed that his predecessor was poisoned in a Kenyan hotel and that local police were bribed not to investigate.
None of these things mean, of course, that Russia couldn’t be the culprit in the Salisbury attack or that Cambridge Analytica has any connection to the the deaths.
But they certainly do mean that while Russia may still be the primary suspect, the government’s ‘Russia is the only plausible suspect‘ line doesn’t stand up to even a few quick Google searches.
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