Meanwhile the police has detailed footage of the alleged Russian suspects in Salisbury on 3rd March, but has declined to either release it, or describe their movements in any detail. The most plausible explanation for that is that the footage does not actually back up the claims being made.
I am currently in the U.S., and so watching from afar as the biggest criminal investigation Britain has ever seen is sub-contracted out to the Atlantic Council/Soros-sponsored website, Bellingcat. Pinch yourself once. Pinch yourself twice. Yes, it really is happening.
It is truly remarkable that having seen millions of pounds spent on an investigation which has failed to give consistent and logical answers to some of the biggest questions in the case, and which has been remarkably economical with the actualité on things like timelines, a website with dubious connections to various neo-conservative organisations has now ridden to the rescue to fill in the gaps which The Met has apparently missed (as an aside neo-conservative is of course a misnomer, since they don’t actually conserve anything. They are in reality neo-Trotskyists, since they are globalists and like destroying stuff). Any taxpayers out there feel like a refund?
The media seems to be having a field day quoting Bellingcat as if it were now the official mouthpiece of The Metropolitan Police and the Government. Of course it may well be the official mouthpiece, only we can’t quite tell as The Met and HMG sneakily hide behind the claims instead of either confirming or denying them:
“A spokesman for the Home Office said it would not comment as it was a police investigation.”
“The Metropolitan Police said they would not comment on the ‘speculation’.”
“And Lady Justice said she would not comment on the case anymore, because she’s had enough and needs to sit down in a corner of a darkened room with a stiff drink, before considering what her next career move might be.”
I have no intention of being sucked into the black hole of analysing the Bellingcat claims. I have no idea of the validity of their claims. They may well be correct. They may well not. However, as I have pointed out many times before, the case against the two suspects is not that they were undercover intelligence officers; rather, it is that they carried out an assassination attempt at the front door of 47 Christie Miller Road using something called “Novichok”. And I am only really interested in whether that case does, or does not stack up.
Reading through the charges made against the two men again, which were given in the statement put out by The Metropolitan Police on 5th September, it strikes me as fairly obvious that investigators do not actually have the evidence of the men’s culpability that they claimed to have when they said:
“We now have sufficient evidence to bring charges in relation to the attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury.”
Why do I say this? Because although Mr Basu stated that he would go through their movements “in detail”, in actual fact he did nothing of the sort. Take a look at what he said about their movements on Saturday 3rd March:
“On Saturday, 3 March, they left the hotel and took the underground to Waterloo station, arriving at approximately 11.45am, where they caught a train to Salisbury, arriving at approximately 2.25pm. They are believed to have taken a similar route when they returned to London on the afternoon of Saturday, 3 March. Leaving Salisbury at approximately 4.10pm and arriving in Bow at approximately 8.05 pm.”
Question: How much detail did he actually give about their movements in Salisbury that day? The answer is none at all. Read it again. There’s nothing. Yes, there’s a lot of fluff about their movements in London, but other than the fact that they arrived in Salisbury, and then left Salisbury, there is nothing whatsoever about their movements whilst they were there. And just to remind you, the charge against the men relates to what they did in Salisbury, not in London.
Why is this and what does it indicate?
Well, it isn’t that they don’t have evidence of the movements of the two men. One of the commenters here, Peter, has established via a Freedom of Information request to Wiltshire Council that all CCTV cameras were operational on both days, and that all footage in relation to the March incident was handed over to the Counter-Terrorism Police.
This means that The Met has detailed footage of the two men in Salisbury on 3rd March, but not only have they chosen to release none of it, apart from one still image of the men at Salisbury station heading back to London, but they have also declined to give any actual detail of the men’s movements in the town that day. Surely if the footage exists — which it does — then The Met ought to be able to tell us what the two men were doing and where they went. But the extraordinary thing is, not only did they fail to do this, but they actually appealed for help in establishing their movements:
“We’d also like to hear from anyone who saw them while they were in the UK between Friday, 2 March and Sunday, 4 March. We are particularly interested in establishing as much as possible about their movements during the period 2pm to 4.30pm on Saturday, 3 March, and 11.30am to 2pm on Sunday, 4 March.”
Why would they need help when plenty of CCTV exists for them to be able to trace their movements?
Actually, it gets worse. Despite the existence of CCTV showing the men’s movements, but still apparently not knowing where the men went, The Met felt fit to draw the following conclusion:
“We assess that this trip was for reconnaissance of the Salisbury area and do not believe that there was any risk to the public from their movements on this day.”
Reconnaissance? What on earth is this supposed to mean? Did they go and check out Mr Skripal’s house that day? If so, where is the CCTV footage of them doing so? Presumably there would be footage of them walking past the Shell garage on that day too. Where, then, is it (and again, I’m asking for footage, not a still image)?
The use of the word reconnaissance is simply absurd. It makes it sound like they were involved in some clandestine military operation, behind enemy lines, checking out the lie of the land. But actually they were in the rather genteel city of Salisbury, and could have checked their destination using Google maps. Or were they just checking that the door had a handle?
Let’s see how The Met fares on the Sunday:
On Sunday, 4 March, they made the same journey from the hotel, again using the underground from Bow to Waterloo station at approximately 8.05am, before continuing their journey by train to Salisbury. CCTV shows them in the vicinity of Mr Skripal’s house and we believe that they contaminated the front door with Novichok. They left Salisbury and returned to Waterloo Station, arriving at approximately 4.45pm and boarded the London Underground at approximately 6.30pm to London Heathrow Airport.”
Again, most of this is fluff. What has their journey from their hotel to Waterloo got to do with what they are charged with doing in Salisbury? What has their return journey to Waterloo and on to Heathrow got to do with what they are charged with doing in Salisbury? Not much. The charge against them is that they carried out an assassination attempt in Salisbury, not that they got on a train here, a tube there, and an airplane somewhere else.
Ah but they do mention what happened in Salisbury, don’t they? Well, yes they do, but as I pointed out in my previous piece, it’s actually a deeply misleading claim. The CCTV footage released by The Met does not show the men in the vicinity of Mr Skripal’s house; it shows them on a different street altogether, hundreds of yards away.
The entirety of the evidence given verbally by Mr Basu of the two men’s activities in Salisbury on both the 3rd and 4th March, is therefore this:
“CCTV shows them in the vicinity of Mr Skripal’s house and we believe that they contaminated the front door with Novichok.”
That’s it! Nothing more! Not exactly compelling, is it?
But here’s the thing: The Met knows exactly where the men went on both days, because it has an awful lot of CCTV footage showing where they went. Yet not only does it refuse to release footage, but it skips out all details of Saturday’s Salisbury wanderings, and makes a misleading statement about the Sunday wanderings. I would submit that the most plausible explanation for this is not that the CCTV doesn’t exist (it does). Nor is it that it exists, but is deemed too sensitive to be released (it isn’t). Rather, the most plausible explanation is that it does exist, but it doesn’t actually back up the claims being made.
Even if the Bellingcat claims turn out to be true, it doesn’t alter this crucial point: The Metropolitan Police has so far failed to provide any convincing evidence that the two suspects they have named walked up to 47 Christie Miller Road and placed “Novichok” on the door handle. They have CCTV footage of the men in Salisbury on 3rd and 4th March. And yet the actual details of their movements that they have given out are in reality non-existent. Perhaps Bellingcat would like to answer the question of why this is. Since they appear to have taken over the investigation, that is.