Former OPCW official: no conclusive proof of Russian complicity in Salisbury attack

  • Nerve agent found in Salisbury does not conclusively prove Russian complicity
  • Russia’s denial of a Novichok programme is true but misleading — a secret nerve agent programme to create Novichok-type agents was run under a different name
  • Western states have extensively researched and synthesized the Novichok class of agents
  • Novichok was most recently synthesized by Iran, details of which were provided to the OPCW
  • Russian Novichok stockpiles were destroyed in the 1990s, but it is theoretically possible that some capability still exists, though no evidence for this is available

The US and its European allies have coordinated the largest collective expulsion of Russian diplomats in history. Russia has promised to retaliate in kind. Yet despite the sense of certainty around Russian culpability in the Salisbury incident, questions remain around the state of the available evidence.

As contradictory narratives proliferate amidst conflicting Western and Russian government statements and media reports, a clearer picture of the secret history of the nerve agent used in the Salisbury poisonings is emerging.

In an exclusive interview with INSURGE, a former senior official at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) from 1993 to 2006, Dr Ralf Trapp, said that at this stage there is no conclusive evidence that Russia was the source of the nerve agent used in Salisbury. He pointed to compelling evidence that Russia did run a secret research programme to create Novichok-type nerve agents — and strongly criticised Russia’s denials of that programme. While justifying grounds for suspicion, there is as yet no decisive proof that Russia retained such a Novichok programme or capability today, he said….

It goes without saying that the west is equally likely to have secret chemical weapons programs to go along with its biological weapons programs.

But common sense doesn’t count for much when an empire wants to go to war.

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