Czech Mate

Last week saw the wheels come off yet another false story concerning Russia, namely the claim that Russian intelligence had paid the Taliban in Afghanistan to kill American soldiers. It was always highly dubious, but that didn’t stop many from repeating it as gospel truth. Apparently, the US intelligence community now admits that it has only ‘low to medium confidence’ in the accusation, which doesn’t mean that they are entirely rejecting it, but does pose a lot of questions about why so many people, including major media outlets, hyped a story for which there was never a substantial basis.

Alas, it’s hardly a lone case and, as I’ve said before, poor reporting matters not only because it’s inaccurate (though that it is bad enough), but also because it discredits the media. The result is that when the press does report something truthful which makes Russia look bad there are a substantial number of people who refuse to believe it. But it’s a mistake to decide that because so much reporting is false, all of it is. Some of it is true. The Russian state is far from a paragon of virtue and engages in its fair share of bad behaviour.

An example is the news this weekend that the Czech government has accused agents of Russian military intelligence of blowing up an arms depot in the Czech Republic, an action that resulted in two deaths. As with so many of these stories, it’s impossible to 100% verify the claim from the information available in the press. But I found myself convinced.

Supposedly, the purpose of the attack was to destroy weapons owned by Bulgarian arms dealer Emilian Grebev. who is said to have been selling weapons to people deemed undesirable by the Russian government. That provides motive.

On top of that, the Czech government reports that shortly before the explosion, the depot was visited by two men whose passport photos match those of the notorious Petrov and Boshirov, who were identified by the British police as being in the town of Salisbury on the day that former Russian spy Sergei Skripal was poisoned by the nerve agent Novichok. Petrov and Boshirov have also been identified as members of Russian military intelligence. So we have opportunity as well.

All that doesn’t constitute proof, but it’s fairly convincing. Identical-looking people, with links to a foreign intelligence agency, turn up in the same places and on the same days as a poisoning and an explosion. What are the odds that it’s coincidence? Pretty low, in my opinion. It seems to me that the Czechs have got the Russians bang to rights on this one.

Likewise, I think that this news should dispel any doubts that anybody still has about the role of Petrov and Boshirov in the Skripal poisoning. I for one never thought that they were in Salisbury to ‘look at the spire’. A less plausible pair of cultural tourists it would be hard to find. But anybody who was prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt should now think again. As I said, it’s too coincidental to be innocent. Likely as not, the Russians are guilty as charged, both in Salisbury and in Czechia.

Perhaps it’s my background as an intelligence officer, but I’ve long felt that intelligence agencies should stick to information gathering and give up all that ‘covert operations’ nonsense. Coups, assassinations, sabotage, and all the rest of it – what difference have they made at the end of the day in the grander scheme of things? Precious damn little as far as I can see.

But they do result in harm. Russia’s goons seem to show a reckless disregard for the possibility of collateral damage, leaving nerve agent-filled bottles lying around for members of the public to pick up, and blowing up arms dumps in a way that kills innocent bystanders. They also appear to be more than a little sloppy in their tradecraft, regularly leaving behind more than a few traces of their actions, with the result that their plots keep being revealed and their identities known to the public.

All this has a very negative effect on Russia’s international reputation. Extremely negative. I really can’t exaggerate how bad the effect is. It’s terrible. If I were working in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs I’d be tearing up my hair in despair as I have to once again cover up the idiocy and criminality of my country’s security and intelligence services.

Ideally, the person at the top of the bureaucratic food chain would put a stop to it. Unfortunately, it would seem that, even if he can’t be proven to have ordered any specific mission, he protects those who do. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs clearly doesn’t rule the roost.

It’s common for the Russian government to blame Russophobia and ‘fake news’ in the foreign press for hostility it faces from Western states. There is an element of truth in that claim, and this blog has devoted more than a little time to demonstrating it. But, Russophobia only has traction because it makes sense to people, and it makes sense because even if the Russian state doesn’t do all the things it’s accused of, it does do some of them. It’s not all fake news.

I’ve often said that Western states need to be more introspective and recognize their own responsibility for the problems of the world. The same goes for Russia. Ultimately, if Russia is in a difficult diplomatic position, the actor mostly to blame isn’t hard to find – the Russian state itself.

71 thoughts on “Czech Mate”

  1. “An example is the news this weekend that the Czech government has accused agents of Russian military intelligence of blowing up an arms depot in the Czech Republic”

    So it is just coincidence that the Czechs came out with this story after six years on sitting on their behind and actually blaming the company managing the munitions dump? And precisely at the moment that a plot against Lukashenko doesn’t make the news in the west at all?

    https://gilbertdoctorow.com/2021/04/19/zero-mainstream-coverage-today-of-the-foiled-u-s-backed-plot-to-assassinate-belarus-president-lukashenko/

    I am quite astonished at your credulity, especially the clown couple from Russia that I thought were so obviously incompetent in the Skripal case and now are blamed for the Czech explosion where nobody could identify them? You really believe that “poisoning story” that is so full of plot holes even Shakespeare wouldn’t be able to cover them.
    Craig Murray aside from the Blogmire posts has recently voiced more than severe doubts: https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2021/04/pure-ten-points-i-just-cant-believe-about-the-official-skripal-narrative/

    In the light of the hundreds of pages I have read about the Skripal nonsense I can take that statement only as either showing you uncritically buying into the British BS or you try your skills unsuccessfully at satire:
    “Russia’s goons seem to show a reckless disregard for the possibility of collateral damage, leaving nerve agent-filled bottles lying around for members of the public to pick up”

    Colour me amazed….

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    1. Peter Lavelle’s little doggie, in above interview, even makes better points than the Bellingcat story-crafters. For example, how Prague conveniently pops up every time the CIA/MI6 need some place for something shady to take place. For example, the 9/11 jihadi supposedly meeting with an Iraqi official in Prague. And lots of other examples. Prague is the modern-day version of Vienna in “The Third Man”, Prague has become a playground of CIA/MI6 conspiracies against Russia.

      Pretty clear, even to a retarded squid fetus with only 2 functioning neurons, that a segment of the Czech government (Security/Intel) has been coopted by the America/NATO Deep State to serve as the casus belli of the next war. They obviously had to come up with something “Fast and Stupid”, hence the Petrov/Boshirov duo.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Let me see if I get this right. Several years after a Czech ammo base blows up the Chech Gov’t discovers that the perpetrators were the same men who incompetently tried to assassinate the Skripals.

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    1. There is was an interesting google Czech site collection, by an engineer.

      Now, not only post Dave Eggers’,The Circle any type of google collection may be suspect. 😉 But it provided context.

      To the extent I followed his links. He seems to approve of European regulations to be translated to regional legislation concerning storing of potentially dangerous matters.

      He is basically collecting information about disasters resulting from storage of dangerous matters. Our incidence is one of those. And not the only event in Czechnia. …

      The cite in question seems to have been an earlier Czech army installation, which then was leased space to subcontractors who offered it to others or tore their weaponry or that of other merchants there. Some at least may have claimed they used the site to recycle or destroy materials there.

      One firm has already been charged in the larger process. Apparently they stored matters there that are allowed in Hungary but not in the Czech Republic. Those were confiscated, but the court decided that the legal authorities had no right to keep them locked up. Anti-personal mines? I forget.

      Wherever you look, you only seem to get this one image of the blown up facilities. But if you look into the larger potential legal responsibilities’ context, you start to wonder why no images of the larger premises are available.

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      1. Yes, more then curious:
        And not the only event in Czechnia. …

        A late friend of mine fled then Czechoslovakia post 1968, I can live with the “Czech Republic”. But agree with Yalensis. Whatever new term there may be its curious.

        Otherwise, correction:
        who offered it to others or stored their weaponry there

        Curious, but Czechoslovakia rings a historical bell,

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  3. “Petrov and Boshirov have also been identified as members of Russian military intelligence”
    Well not really. Bellingcat claimed it had some photos on the wall of some military intelligence building, and that it fitted the 2 guys in Salisbury. Trouble is the photos didn’t match. So that story goes nowhwere.
    ” Petrov and Boshirov … I for one never thought that they were in Salisbury to ‘look at the spire’.”
    Nor did they – there were there to see Stone Henge, on or the biggest cultural sites in the world. Which despite western media insistence, really was inaccessible due to snow that weekend (as can be confirmed with local newspaper stories).

    And of course if it were the same guys can blow up arm dumps in Czech, you have to ask why they couldn’t just shoot Skripal….

    On the other hand, there have been a number of unexplained weapon dump explosions in Ukraine as well. It really is quite plausible to claim that Russian (or Donbas) agents were blowing them up.
    Is that an embarrassment for Moscow? Or something to be proud of? It is hard to report on such dumps without explaining just how post-Soviet arms have been traded over the last 30 years. Mostly with CIA support to achieve CIA/Nato goals.
    Bulgarian arms dealers trading ex-Soviet weaponry out of Czech are remarkably convenient – but there is a good argument to say they should be taken out of business by anyone who cares for International good.
    One could follow that with a proper report on exactly which groups of Kiev forces the arms were going to.
    For all your concern about optics on Russia, the Czech arms story is horrendous for Czech/Nato/US from an unbiased point of view. Illegal arms trade of ex-ukraine (most likely) weapons sold back to Ukraine Nazis with US/Czech/Nato connivance.

    And essentially as all these stories get deleted or highlighted by western media to suit the huge amounts of money that goes in through paid PR, there is not really anything for Russia to worry about here – as indeed the CIA controllers of Bulgarian arms traders need not concern themselves either.

    No surprise then, that when Biden chooses to insult Russia with more sanctions (presumably to pre-empt a Putin refusal to meet on Ukraine) they ignore this “scandal”. Rather they prefer to list the many times refuted Afghan-bounties, and the story with no evidence of Solar-Winds.

    Watch – no western media dare run with the Czech story, they’ll stick to the made up stories with no blowback.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Is that an embarrassment for Moscow? Or something to be proud of? ”

      That 2014 Czech explosion, I see media at the time reporting 13 tons of ammo:
      https://www.novinky.cz/domaci/clanek/sklad-nemohl-vybuchnout-samovolne-rekl-zastupce-firmy-ktera-si-jej-pronajimala-259066

      En wikipedia says 50 tons, without any corroboration from the time of incident.

      But even if it was 50 tons, it’s still chicken feed. It’s nothing. To send Petrov and Boshirov, His Majesty’s 00 Secret Agents, License to Kill THEMSELVES to blow it up, it makes no sense at all.

      So, embarrassment, I suppose.

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      1. In above-posted interview, Lavelle’s guest (I forget his name) makes the point that a lot of this ammo dated back to WWII and even WWI. The point being, I reckon, that (a) America can sell Ukraine way better shit than this; and (b) explosions happen sometimes.

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  4. I’m really quite astonished that a person of your caliber thinks there is any truth to that Czech story. First, Bellingcrap already aired this 2 years ago during the Skripal time, so it is not new. Which means, why bother digging this up again? Rather than question the validity of this story, you jump to the conclusion that there would be something to the Petrov and Boshirov suspicions that were sown haphazardly by the combination of MI6 and Bellingcrap. When you drill down into the Skripal story, when you drill down into the Bellingcrap story on Petrov and Boshirov, it is so full of holes and contradictions that it’s an embarrassment to anyone’s intellect.
    Second, there are no new facts versus 2 years ago.
    Third, why not question what needs to be questioned after these years: where is Sergey Skripal and his daughter? The Blogmire blog in Salisbury has really quite succinctly exposed the utter nonsense of the MI5-6 story.
    And last, when there are no new facts, one can switch to questioning motivation: why air this story (again) now? After the botched regime change/assassination plans of Lukashenko which were mentioned by Putin to Biden? After the embarrassment of Biden’s crawling back from sending the destroyers into the Black Sea (after Putin told him they wouldn’t be safe)? The new sanctions, btw, were already in the works as Biden was asking for a meeting – this is how obtuse and blindly undiplomatic the US regime has become.
    To put the cherry on top, now the UK is apparently sending a few ships into the Black sea. Blubbering stupidity isn’t quite the word to cover that one.

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  5. Dear Paul, I fail to see what Russia does that other states following a confident foreign policy, such as Israel, do not do. All of them seek to defend their perceived interests, but only Russia is singled out as an anomaly and portrayed as an outlaw. Israel is an excellent example of a country that sets its national interest at the cost of collateral damage or disrespecting third countries’ sovereignty.

    I do not want to debate the merits of the evidence presented by the Czech authorities. Let us assume that the cargo was meant to supply Hezbollah during the third intifada in 2014. We can expect that the Israeli intelligence would detonate the facility and avoid those weapons reaching their final destination. Would there be the same public outcry with a mass expulsion of diplomats?

    The assassination of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh 2010 in Dubai shows us that those events warrant at most a couple of expulsions of diplomats. More recently, the assassination of Irani scientists and the sabotage of the US-Iran negotiations attest that there is no public outrage in the Western world nor diplomatic consequences.

    Some countries enjoy unlimited goodwill, such as Israel, and other countries are held accountable even for things they did not commit, such as Russia.

    Also, I am unsure if those covert ops are futile. We only get to know about those that make it to the press. Hence, those that went wrong. As a result, our observation samples are heavily biased.

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    1. This is a fair point. Israel has of late been engaged in a campaign of piracy against Iranian shipping that has received almost no media attention. I was reading a book review yesterday about the president of Rwanda Paul Kagame that noted that he has acquired a reputation of assassinating enemies overseas but has suffered no repercussions. And so on. That doesn’t, however, render Russian actions correct. Moreover, they are carried out on the territory of European states, so we shouldn’t be surprised when European states react negatively.

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    2. “The Czech also used the opportunity to exclude the Russian Rosatom from the tender to expend the Dukovany nuclear power plant. Previously a Chinese company was similarly banned. The only other serious bid is from the U.S. company Westinghouse”

      https://www.moonofalabama.org/2021/04/why-the-anti-russian-policies-are-likey-to-stay.html#more

      Sounds somewhat similar to the Nordstream 2 pipeline goings on. Germany refused so far to buckle under after the Navalny fairy tale but some other NATO members seem more amenable to suggestions by big bro and provide reasons to turn them into reality.

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  6. Note that Czech government publicly refused to provide any detailed evidence to their case. Apparently so as to “disallow Russia to twist any details they provide to its benefit”. You may notice that this is a very direct spit in the face of “due process” rules. It’s entirely too convenient – making free accusations to score points with absolutely zero responsibility and need to actually prove anything.

    They also broke off vaccine negotiations for some reason. Why?

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    1. Yalensis, the place was called “Bohemia” in English and the Czech language “Bohemian”. I think “Czech” was adopted at Versailles in deference to Czech nationalists. Slovaks were ruled by the Hungarians before the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian empire and what is now Slovakia was mostly part of the Kingdom of Hungary until the post-WWI redrawing of the map of Europe.

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      1. For completeness sake: Böhmen in German.
        After all – it was part of the Habsburg Monarchie (as a self governed Kingdom) and later part of the Holy Roman Empire and after 1806, when that one went the way of all empires, became part of the Austrian Empire.
        The only author I am familiar with – and very much so – is Jaroslav Hašek.
        Very highly recommended are his “Adventures of the brave soldier Schweijk”. The man manages to laugh through his tears portraying the complete and utter idiocies of warfare.

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    1. That’s not really backpeddling. They’re still saying that the Russians did it. They are merely saying that they don’t consider it an attack on Czechia (which is kind of odd to my mind, as it killed two Czech citizens).

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      1. Paul, I think they might be avoiding a repeat of Biden’s recent diplomatic blunder. It is perfectly possible to hold Russia responsible for the death of Litvinenko without resorting to such brash and thoughtless outbursts like Biden did the other day. Acknowledging the incident as an attack against the Czech Republic, would place Prague in a difficult position regarding Russia, NATO (article 5 guarantees) and the domestic public.

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      2. I like this new construct “Czechia”. One should not write “Czechoslovakia” any more, and it was just awkward to write “Czech Republic”. Why write 2 words when one can do?

        As for Petrov/Boshirov, wow, they must be the best super-agents ever. Way better than James Bond, plus, they’re gay, which makes them cool! They are everywhere and doing everything for Mother Russia. Experienced tourists who know what is interesting, also poisoners (somewhat inept), but competent explosives experts. They are like the spy equivalents of James Brown, “the hardest working man in show business”.

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  7. Thank you for this blog post professor. Before I was suspicious of this being ‘a thing’ as they have proof the two Boshirov and Petrov had emailed asking to visit but that there is not much proof they actually did. However, as you point out, they did have a potential opportunity and motive. If this seems to a critical observer like you to be a Russian government operation then indeed objective minded people must recognise as you say how bad this is.

    Without a doubt those two demonstrated guilt in Salisbury with their ‘123 metre spire’ remark. Like reading off a drill manual.

    The only reason I could conceive that the Czechs did not pronounce this an attack on the Czech Republic is that it is not exactly a good look that a major arms depot was in private hands, of a foreign national and arms were being sold to goodness knows who. Still, this is no excuse, as you say for the Russians to do what they did. If they had proof, there are venues like the United Nations to demonstrate the proof and the Embassy in Prague can protest to the Foreign Ministry. Blowing things up and killing people is unacceptable.

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  8. 2014: Arms depot blown up in the Czech Republic
    2018: Petrov’s and Boshirov’s “identities” broadcasted to the whole world
    2021: The Czech authorities suddenly connect the dots and decide to exclude Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom from the tender to expand the Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant https://interfax.com/newsroom/top-stories/71616/

    And, as a cherry on the cake: Czech First Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamacek says that Prague has no intention of disclosing the details to Moscow on the investigation into the explosions in the warehouse https://tass.com/politics/1279959

    Ironclad. As per usual.

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    1. Lola, add a second cherry on the cake: England’s announcement that it will send 2 warships into the Black Sea to confront Russia.
      Last week I stopped worrying about the war when indications seemed to indicate that Zelensky had called it off (after meeting with Sultan Erdoğan); and this event was followed quickly by America back-pedaling the sending of its boats into the Black Sea. Whew!

      Barely had I breathed a sigh of relief, when it seemed the Deep State got irritated with Biden’s mealy-mouthedness in regard to Russia, and decided they wanted to proceed with the war after all. So now we have this Czech provocation, followed by English provocation.
      So, I reckon this on-again off-again war is on-again, and now I have to start worrying again. I’ll mark that on my calendar: “Start worrying again.”

      Previous signs and portents were pointing to May 2 as the date the actual shooting war begins: When Zelensky’s brave boys invade Donetsk and American (now English) warships start to shell Crimea. That’s what some analysts say, at least, because May 2 is Orthodox Easter.
      Well, we shall see. I hope it’s all just another bluff. No thanks to these Czech toadies.

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      1. I don’t know why, Yalensis, but somehow British ships in the Black Sea don’t worry me half as much. I just fail to see them as a threat. Or even a statement. Truth be told, I am not even annoyed! Is there anything wrong with me? 😳

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      2. “warships start to shell Crimea”

        How long would it take for Russian missile defence to have those ships see bottom..?
        Don’t they realize that an attack on Crimea is an attack against Russia itself, on Russian soil and not just some outlying area?

        Don’t they remember the results of some 80 years ago?

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      3. Lola, you and every Russian should be trembling at the might of Her Majesty’s Navy. After all, each and everyone of these stalwart sailors, “is an Englishman!”

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      4. Admittedly, in view of all that’s been happening in/with Britain over the recent years, there’s plenty of reasons to suspect the Brits have been gradually loosing it. However, compared to the US and Ukraine, I feel Britain still retains some old-fashioned common sense.

        Are Brits shrewd and bloody-minded? Sure can be. Can they act as insufferable pricks? No question. But are they stupid and reckless, to the point of being suicidal? Some recent events give one pause, but… “not really” is still my answer. So, let them sail the Black Sea &enjoy some sun.

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      5. For sure, let these plucky tars sail in the sunshine, just waiting for boat to be rammed by Rooskies…

        Then they can join hands and start singing: “Glad I’m not a Rooosian, nor a Prooosian, just glad to be an English-man!”
        hahahaha
        (Not to worry, I like the English too, I’m a bit of Anglophile myself…)

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  9. It’s all very well for sceptics to shout ‘propaganda’, ‘Iraq WMD’ or ‘Russophobia’. But as you mention elsewhere, Paul, propaganda is only convincing when it falls onto fertile soil.

    Unlike the Afghan bounties story and various dubious hacking allegations, the Czechs have provided convincing prima facie evidence to support their claims. Nor does Prague have any cause to fabricate any such charges. As Mark Galeotti points out, it was touted as a possible location for a Putin-Biden summit and Rosatom was a contender for Dukovany power station’s renovation contract.

    It is right and proper that spurious scholarship and misleading media coverage is appropriately challenged. You do a lot of commendable work in this regard. But this does not mean that accusations levelled against the Russian government are ipso facto untrue or motivated by Russophobia.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Czechs have provided convincing prima facie evidence to support their claims.”
      What evidence and where?: “one party has a burden of proof, which requires it to present prima facie evidence for all of the essential facts in its case. If it cannot, its claim may be dismissed without any need for a response by other parties.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prima_facie

      The evidence was not presented, neither convincingly (I have no idea how anyone not part of the government can know) nor otherwise when the government of the Republic expressly refused to present it. Your claim is false.

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    2. > Nor does Prague have any cause to fabricate any such charges.

      It’s a NATO vassal state. Rosatom being a contender *is a motive* rather than countermotive.

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      1. Correct. Czechia is a NATO vassal state. So, even though many Czechs (including their own President) have friendly feelings for Russia, there is another part of their Deep State which must obey the commands of the CIA/MI6 cabal. That’s not a conspiracy theory, it’s simply fact.

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  10. Meanwhile, not long after we learned that the Americans changed their minds about sending their boats into the Black Sea to confront Russia, guess who is ready to take their place? Rule Brittania! Well, like the Russian admirals say, ““The role of a mock enemy will be played by maritime targets.”

    War games are more realistic when an actual enemy decides to play!

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  11. There were two explosions months apart

    Just like two poisonings months part and in different locations

    But its is claimed it is by the same persons

    It is by the same persons – the UK are behind it

    Bellingcat and Luke harding are on the case

    Just reaks of false flag

    I hope its worth it for the
    Czechs

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  12. Professor Robinson, I have become a fan of your site, as it offers some of the most rational analysis of Russia, and current events pertaining to that country.

    I’m a bit surprised that you accept the official Skripal poisoning narrative, or believe that the Czech accusation proves anything.

    There are too many holes in the official story, too many inconsistencies, and quite frankly too many coincidences.

    The Skripal poisoning happened on March 4th, yet somehow by the 12th the British government felt they had enough evidence to declare Russia had poisoned the father and daughter with a heretofore little known nerve agent. Seemed very quick; especially since the hospital treated the Skripal’s for Fentanyl poisoning, so initially there wasn’t much reason to believe it was nerve agent. Of course the emergency responders thought it was Fentanyl because witnesses described the Skripals as acting disoriented before passing out.

    Of course it was quite lucky that the head nurse of the army just happened to be on hand when the Skripal’s collapsed. Also quite lucky that Yulia Skripal collapsed at the same time as her father despite being a woman, younger, and less weight; just amazing that the agent worked at the same speed. Then again, I’m still trying to figure out why either, much less both would touch the outside door handle as they were leaving.

    Then again it was rather amazing that a nerve agent would be left on an outside door handle, pass through the skin, and enter the blood stream, yet somehow remained in its virgin state after 15 days. Of course it’s odd that two people could be exposed to such a lethal pure nerve agent, then travel about town, have lunch, drink a beer, then walk to a park before collapsing.

    There are more such weird inconsistencies, such as authorities destroying the roof of the Skripal’s house; or straight up lies such as ducks dying. Suffice it to to say there’s enough reason to question the whole affair.

    Then we have Petrov and Boshirov, men who supposedly were sent to kill the Skripals, though there’s never been any actual evidence produced other than that they visited the town. Quite lucky that the GRU don’t teach their hit teams basic craft like how to enter the country while avoiding the airport, nor how to get to a town without using public transportation. Also interesting that they would put the nerve agent in a women’s perfume bottle, but have two men carry it. Would’ve been smarter to place in a men’s cologne bottle, guess the British were lucky the GRU are no longer a professional team. I mean professionals wouldn’t have dumped the bottle in a donation bin, when it would have been easier to pass to an embassy employee, where the bottle could be destroyed.

    Guess that is why you could believe that these two men would visit the site of the explosion before destroying it. I’m just trying to figure out why you would believe the Czech government would only now, six years after the explosion would put two and two together. I mean it’s not like Petrov’s and Boshirov’s pictures weren’t plastered all over the news a few years ago at the height of the Skripal case.

    Russia might be behind the explosions, but evidence so far is circumstantial. Passport pictures are not evidence.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. > Also quite lucky that Yulia Skripal collapsed at the same time as her father despite being a woman, younger, and less weight; just amazing that the agent worked at the same speed

      Finally someone with scientific mind& training! Thank you RJRolsen! I made EXACTLY the same point in a comment a few posts back!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. So he Czechs are “bang to rights” over Petrov and Boshirov and also that they poisoned the Skripals and ditched the infamous Novichok-dosed perfume spray that resulted in the death of an unfortunate woman.

    Likewise, I think that this news should dispel any doubts that anybody still has about the role of Petrov and Boshirov in the Skripal poisoning. I for one never thought that they were in Salisbury to ‘look at the spire’. A less plausible pair of cultural tourists it would be hard to find. But anybody who was prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt should now think again. As I said, it’s too coincidental to be innocent. Likely as not, the Russians are guilty as charged, both in Salisbury and in Czechia.

    Apart from the death of that woman long after the Skripals had been poisoned by “Novichok”, I wonder why the same poison didn’t kill the Skripals and all around them, not to mention the detective who visited Skripal’s house, the ducks in the park, the people in the restaurant where the Skripals, after having touched the Novichok-smeared handle of their residence, had eaten before they both collapsed at the same time at the same place just as the British Army Chief Nurse was passing by etc., etc.

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  14. “I for one never thought that they were in Salisbury to ‘look at the spire’.”

    I have no idea whether they lied about the spire or not. But even if they did lie, it’s not like there are only two reasons for people to visit Salisbury: to look at the spire or to poison former spies using exotic chemicals conspicuously linked to the Russian Federation. It is entirely possible that it was neither the spire nor poisoning, but some other reason they didn’t want to share with the world.

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    1. The Dynamic Duo said they travelled there as tourists to see Stonehenge, but it was closed that day (which people fact-checked, and turned out to be true). So they had to pick another site to see, or just waste the day.
      It’s also possible they were there to participate in the vibrant gay culture of Merry Olde Salisbury.

      Speakinig of which, is that where Salisbury steaks were invented? They taste pretty good.

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      1. Hey, I think we are witnessing the birth of a new powerful jokes&memes generator! Schtirlitz&Mueller and Pet’ka&Vasil’Ivanych are yielding to Petrov&Boshirov! Already if you enter “анекдоты про Петро…”, Yandex auto-completes it with “…ва и Боширова” 🙂
        Check out this hillarious ballad: https://youtu.be/nx1W8Rvx9KU

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      2. We can do a crossover series. For example:

        Stierlitz wakes up at dawn finding himself naked and lying in the ruins of Stongehenge, and he can’t remember how he got there. But he notices immediately, with his eagle eye, that some of the stones have fallen off haphazard and laying at random angles. “Hmmm,” he deduces, “Petrov and Boshirov must have been here with me last night…..”

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      1. As did the Decembrists (at least the Southern Society), and as, of course, did in practice the Bolsheviki, whom you seem to admire!

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  15. I sometimes despair that the Kremlin has no sense of humor, but sending homosexual drug-dealers back in time to blow up an arms depot is truly brilliant. No doubt the the coup plot against Lukashenko was a false flag planted by these very same connoisseurs of English Gothic architecture.

    Was Cold War I this bizarre? I’m too young to remember.

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  16. Dear Professor,

    I’ve been thinking more about this Czech/Ammo dump story. When reading these stories, especially about Russia, I often use what I call my Sherlock Holmes rule. The popular BBC reinterpretation of the classic character would often ask, “Who benefits?”

    This is one of the reasons why I was always skeptical of the Skripal poisoning story. There was no obvious benefit for Russia to kill Sergei Skripal. In fact the risks to Russia as it prepared for the World Cup of Football would have made any such exercise too risky.

    Now I have been considering who benefits from this Czech affair and I could not see a reason for either Russia blowing up the dumps or Czech Republic’s accusation. I still don’t see much reason for blowing up the ammo dumps. There was much more benefit to be had exposing the operation. The weapons were not a risk to Russia itself that needed to be neutralized immediately.

    As for why the Czech Republic would come forth now, I couldn’t discern a reason until I read an article in bne intellinews titled ‘Czech President Zeman’s pro-Russian policy blows up in his face’. The thrust of the article was the Czech President had for the past few years looked to create better ties to Russia. Things had been going well with the Czech Republic looking to buy Sputnik V vaccines and considering a Russian corporation’s bid for the building of a new nuclear facility.

    Suddenly all of this is down the drain, because an explosion years ago that when investigated at the time had been ruled commercial accident and blamed on shoddy storage was suddenly due to the actions of Russian agents. And not just any Russian agents, but two men already proven to be agents of Russian Military Intelligence, GRU. So no need to prove that this was the act of Russian provocateurs, the British already had done that. Very neat, very orderly. Suddenly rapprochement with Russia is dead in the water. The Czech President is effectively nurtured. And Czech is pulled back into the fold of being staunchly anti-Russian.

    So, I am wondering, do you still feel that the Czech Republic’s accusation against Russia is unimpeachable? Does it still corroborate British accusations about the Skripal poisonings?

    Just wondering.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “I still don’t see much reason for blowing up the ammo dumps.”

      In purely theoretical terms, it of course does make sense to blow up an ammo depot. It just didn’t make sense (all things considered) to blow up such a small ammo depot. The risk-benefit ratio is too high.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. @PaulR
    April 21, 2021 at 8:41 am

    As did the Decembrists (at least the Southern Society), and as, of course, did in practice the Bolsheviki, whom you seem to admire!

    Talk about “what aboutism” dear prof.

    First off, there is no afaik no civil war or a revolution happening in Belarus, and different from the family of te czar – I take it you refer to – the latter was an unelected and the revolution happened after a war he in the final analysis was responsoible for to enter and loose.

    To compare those two events and somehow construct similarities where none exist seems to be – to be polite – below the standards of one who calls himself a prof in charge of advising and instructing students.

    Colour me not only amazed but add on disappointed…

    Like

    1. Thanks, Peter! You made the point better than I could.
      I was just sputtering fruitlessly “wh wh ah….”
      Still pretty ticked at the Professor, he’s mostly a mild-mannered guy, but every now and then he can get fairly waspy!
      🙂

      Like

      1. I just miss the edit feature on those wordpress sites. Happens when you are writing with slightly elevated blood pressure but trying to be on topic and polite to the host.

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      2. I think you were polite, Peter. El Professore is usually polite too, but he has his triggers, like every person. Still can’t figure out, though, why such an otherwise reasonable man is so hellishly devoted to the Romanov royal family, or, even worse, to their violent unaccountable warlords. Oh well, like Julius Caesar used to say (before he said “Ow! ow! ow!”) de gustibus non est disputandum, I reckon.

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  18. Are you telling me that all-powerful GRU uses the same incompetent couple of agents to do professional chemical assassination as well as an explosives job?

    Let me tell you, those two are completely different specializations. That’s just not how a professional organization operates.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The ones from the Skripals chemical destruction attempt were clearly member of a intelligence circus clown group.

      They did it so well the smart folks got all fooled by pros like that pretending to kill the Skripals – leaving traces behind not even the police could miss, making sure a nurse was on standby in the park to prevent the wrong ones from dying, wandering about town aimlessly – while all along their target was Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess.

      In which they succeeded knowing the habits of Sturgess and sneakily hiding a sealed perfume bottle in a 2nd hand shop storage bin. The success of the operation was guaranteed because everyone was focussing the attention on Sergei and his daughter…

      One might think a rather complicated plot, but that is of course where intelligence shines….

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  19. Some people are so easy to convince. The whole Skripal story is so preposterous, if anyone has been sloppy that would be the British who invented it. I don’t have a background in intelligence – thank goodness, for it seems to have detrimental effect on intellectual abilities – but I do have a degree in neuropharmacology and know for sure that the story violates the laws of nature. No poison works the way it was stated in the story. If Skripals were poisoned at all, which by the way is not at all certain, they weren’t poisoned by Novichok or any other nerve poison and they were poisoned shortly before they were found and NOT 5 h earlier. The Skripals were initially treated from fentanyl poisoning, and very likely that what it was. The whole story a big steaming pile of sh&&t. By the way, there are they, the Skripals? Are they still alive?

    As to that Czech story, it is equally nonsensical. The explosion happened 7 ears ago, and the Czechs themselves concluded it was due to negligence by the people that got killed. This makes a hell of a lot more sense that this James Bond story they dug out now when the level of confrontation is high and Russia is unyielding. This is a motive, no?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “but I do have a degree in neuropharmacology and know for sure that the story violates the laws of nature. No poison works the way it was stated in the story.”
      exactly what Craig Murray has addressed in this post: https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2021/04/pure-ten-points-i-just-cant-believe-about-the-official-skripal-narrative/
      ” The official story is that the Skripals were poisoned by their door handle, but then well enough to go out to a pub, feed some ducks, and have a big lunch in Zizzi’s, before being instantly stricken and disabled, both at precisely the same time.

      The Skripals were of very different ages, genders and weights. That an agent which took hours to act but then kicks in with immediate disabling effect, so they could not call for help, would affect two such entirely different metabolisms at precisely the same time, has never been satisfactorily explained. Dosage would have an effect and of course the doorknob method would give an uncontrolled dosage.

      But that the two different random dosages were such that they affected each of these two very different people at just the same moment, so that neither could call for help, is an extreme coincidence.”

      That is the main point where poisoning by an absolute deadly nerve toxin does make no sense at all.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agree with most things you say but …

        • After all, this entire blockade warfare is nothing other than a war against women and children, just as once was the case in the Boer War. It was then that concentration camps were invented. The English brain gave birth to this idea.

        Like

    2. Thank God, another person with biomedical background 🙂 as soon as I heard this preposterous story, I said exactly the same thing: no way on Earth these two could walk around for hours and then collapse at THE SAME TIME!

      Like

    3. Thank God, another person with biomedical background 🙂 as soon as I heard this preposterous story, I said exactly the same thing: no way on Earth these two could walk around for hours and then collapse at THE SAME TIME!

      Like

  20. Interesting points that I have not seen in any media coverage of this story was put forth by the site Insomniac Resurrected https://insomniacresurrected.com/author/insomniacresurrected/
    The Petrov and Boshirov Saga Makes the Czech Republic Look Bad
    If the Czech story is true, then the following is true too:
    1. The Czech Republic sells weapons to Ukraine and to Syrian rebels.
    2. Shady Bulgarian businessmen store ammunition in evidently unsecured warehouses
    3. The Czech government are total cucks (I would add their investigation services are crap)
    4. Petrov and Boshirov are supermen

    Like

  21. So, now Milos Zeman, the president, says the allegations are just an unconfirmed theory.

    Damn it, I’ve been sitting here, looking, for a couple of minutes, at this phrase I typed, but I can’t think of a sufficiently sarcastic punch line. Yalensis, maybe you can? Something in Latin, perhaps?

    Like

  22. There was actually 2nd explosion at the same facility, 2 months later – which isn’t claimed yet as outside action, just an accident.

    https://ct24.ceskatelevize.cz/regiony/1006486-vrbetice-evakuovani-lide-se-domu-dnes-nevrati

    This makes a very strange case – czech remembered about it 7 years after the explosion at the site when the explosive accident do happen; it happened in 2014 when Ukraine still had loads of ammunition and their foreign procurement was quite limited so sabotage was nearly useless more so with limited scale – just a few dozen tonnes of ammunition while in active fighting units consume hundreds of tonnes per day. And evidence pretty circumstantial and not really convincing.

    Like

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