The Skripal Affair and apparent poisoning of Julia and Sergei Skripal have thrown up a lot of theories and the evidence appears confusing and contradictory. The purpose of this article is to outline a possible alternative scenario which accounts for much of the evidence presented in the media and found through open-source investigation. This theory does not appear to have appeared elsewhere and I am not claiming it is necessarily true but it should be examined by the OPCW and considered by the UK and Russian investigating authorities.
To outline the scenario: Sergei Skripal appears to have been a keen gardener and he may have had a wasp (or other insect) problem. He may have ordered an organophosphate-based insecticide and there may have been a spillage of this substance in his home. Perhaps this spillage occurred at the front door as Julia moved her luggage into the house. Julia and Sergei may have both participated in the clean-up of the fluid and this could have been how they were contaminated. They then went to the pub and Zizzi’s restaurant where they consumed alcohol, which is known to exacerbate the effects of organophosphate poisoning.
To outline some of the evidence behind this theory:
1) As Craig Murray has laid out brilliantly, there is considerable uncertainty about the substance which affected the Skripals. The UK government has been deliberately deceptive in saying the substance involved was Novichok, when the evidence presented in court was that “Blood samples from Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal were analysed and the findings indicated exposure to a nerve agent or related compound. The samples tested positive for the presence of a Novichok class nerve agent OR CLOSELY RELATED AGENT.”
2) Wasp problems are common in Salisbury with Wiltshire Council saying, “Wasps are becoming an increasing problem; in 2016, our pest control team treated in excess of 1,400 wasp nests.”
3) Organophosphate insecticides are closely related to nerve agents as reported in the Guardian: “Like other nerve agents, they are organophosphate compounds, but the chemicals used to make novichoks, and their final structures, are considered classified in the UK, the US and other countries. By making the novichoks in secret, from benign chemicals normally used for insecticides and the like, the Soviet Union aimed to manufacture them without interference.”
4) The symptoms of the Skripals seem to be in tune with organophosphate insecticide poisoning. See this for instance from the University of Nebraska:
In particular, it appears their symptoms came on some time after exposure at their house (which seems unlikely if the world’s “most dangerous” nerve agent was involved) and after they had probably consumed alcohol.
5) Skripal received a “potentially deadly” delivery (now in the hands of Porton Down) as reported in The Express. This may have been an organophosphate-based insecticide which are widely available in the UK and can be delivered by courier.
6) The recent Aeroflot raid suggests the “nerve agent” was found on Julia’s luggage also supported by reporting in the Daily Telegraph that “Senior sources have told the Telegraph they are convinced the Novichok nerve agent was hidden in the luggage of Yulia Skripal, the double agent’s 33-year-old daughter. They are working on the theory that the toxin was impregnated in an item of clothing or cosmetics or else in a gift that was opened in his house in Salisbury…”
It seems possible the container spilled as she was bringing in her luggage.
7) The evidence of Stephen Davies, a consultant in emergency medicine at the Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust at Salisbury hospital who wrote the Times saying:
“Sir, Further to your report (“Poison Exposure Leaves Almost 40 Needing Treatment”, Mar 14), may I clarify that no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve-agent poisoning in Salisbury and there have only ever been three patients with significant poisoning. Several people have attended the emergency department concerned that they may have been exposed. None had symptoms of poisoning and none has needed treatment. Any blood tests performed have shown no abnormality. No member of the public has been contaminated by the agent involved.”
8) As revealed by Craig Murray in a recent interview, “It looks to many people like this may just be a silly amateur mixture of different insecticides.”
Obviously this scenario, if true, does not reflect well on Porton Down or Boris Johnson or Theresa May and with every passing day the failure to announce that a massive mistake has been made indicates a cover-up may be underway.
There are some obvious questions which need to be raised:
1) Did Skripal order or buy any form of insecticide?
2) What was the “potentially deadly” item delivered to the Skripal house?
3) Can insecticide poisoning be ruled out?
If this theory holds water (and just to emphasize it is just a theory and other scenarios are possible) it seems unlikely the authorities will be able to keep a lid on it.
In particular the counter-terrorism police and the OPCW seem unlikely to be prepared to go along with a cover-up – even if Porton Down, the mainstream media, MI5 and the politicians involved might prefer to continue with the farce and can somehow keep the Skripals on board in order to defend the current UK government’s credibility and their own careers.