- Russia probably still most likely source of the toxin
- SKWAWKBOX broke news two days ago that Novichok production does not require state-level facilitites
- BBC Newsnight programme ‘reveals’ the same from a second expert source
Two days ago, the SKWAWKBOX published comments by Professor David Collum, group head of organic chemistry at the world-renowned Cornell University. Professor Collum was withering about the government’s claim that only a ‘state actor’ could produce a Novichok-type nerve agent, calling them ‘liars’ and elaborating:
The compounds are simple as hell to make. Doing so without killing yourself would be more challenging but within the capabilities of many laboratories.
In spite of the impeccable credentials of the source, as usual some couldn’t resist attacking the information as ‘fake news’. But corroboration was to come from a perhaps-unexpected source.
The BBC has rarely departed from the approved government line on the Salisbury attack, even going so far as to hide evidence exposing Boris Johnson’s lie about the Novichok issue during a televised interview and its Newsnight programme is often among the most culpable, but last night it was the exception, as a correspondent told viewers of a conversation with chemical weapons expert Professor Alastair Hay:
Perhaps feeling vulnerable about the difference between the official line and what he was about to relay, the BBC’s correspondent underlines Hay’s status as a ‘very level-headed chemist’ – and begins by fudging the issue, describing the professor as ‘on the fence’ about the issue.
But by the end of the piece, he lets out the unvarnished and unequivocal truth:
chemically it’s clear that the Russians are not the only people who could have made this nerve agent
No fence-sitting, just a ‘clear‘ statement that the Russians are not the only people who could have made the Salisbury toxin.
Which is exactly what Professor David Collum told us – and we told our readers – two days ago.
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