- Russia remains a feasible source of the toxin used in the Salisbury attack
- Boris Johnson lied to the UK public that Porton Down had positively identified a source – and the Establishment is pulling out all the stops to cover for him
- Johnson’s statement in a filmed interview contains either a second lie – or less likely an admission that the UK is in breach of its chemical weapons treaty obligations
The Establishment has been scrambling to cover for Boris Johnson’s lie that the scientists at Porton Down told him ‘categorically’ that their analysis of the Novichok toxin used in Salisbury showed that its source was Russia. Porton Down’s CEO admitted that no source had been identified.
The Foreign Office deleted a tweet that made the same claim and appears to have doctored the transcript of the UK ambassador to Russia making a similar assertion; Ministers have claimed that Johnson was answering a different question than the one that he had been asked.
The BBC even selectively voiced over the question to support ministers’ claim that Johnson was only saying Porton Down told him it was definitely a novichok – and shortly afterward claimed it couldn’t even find the question.
But the lie is there in the interview for anyone who gets to hear it.
However, it’s not the only one. Broadcaster Deutsche Welle‘s interviewer pressed Johnson twice on the issue of whether the UK’s speed in identifying the Novichok compound meant that the UK held samples of the toxin at Porton Down – which would allow it to make a direct comparison.
The first time, Johnson ignored the question – but on the second occasion he confirmed that this was the case:
The interviewer asks for the second time: “So they have the samples?” and Johnson, although off camera for a second, can clearly be heard answering:
The SKWAWKBOX asked whether the UK had notified the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) of its possession of Novichok-family toxin samples. While stating that the details of the declarations of ‘States Parties’ are confidential, the OPCW confirmed:
This leaves two alternatives, assuming the OPCW is answering honestly:
Either the UK does have samples of Novichok-group nerve agents at Porton Down or elsewhere for comparison.
Or Johnson told a second lie to Deutsche Welle.
The latter means – again – that Johnson should resign for a clear breach of the ministerial code. The former means that the UK is in breach of its obligations as an OPCW ‘State Party’.
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