The Skripal business is becoming more suspect with each passing day. Yulia has declared herself "well" and her father as "well" but "sleeping" - and yet at the same time the UK Government would have us believe they were poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent of a kind which they have declared the "most deadly nerve agent ever created" and for which there is "no known antidote". No-one has been allowed to see either of the Skripals - not the Press, nor the Russian Embassy, nor any close relation of the Skripals - nor a single independent person from outside of the careful regime assembled about them. Indeed, the two victims of the apparent Novichok attack appear to be guarded in such a way that they are prisoners in all but name and are completely concealed from the outside world. Yulia's hopes - expressed to her cousin in the sole communication which we know has come from her - of being released from hospital within a week, have clearly not materialised and no-one knows what "treatment" she and her father have been and are being subjected to, hidden from the world's view. In fact their situation is somewhat closer to that of North Korean prisoners than to patients in a hospital.
Increasingly, the question is being asked: were the Skripals poisoned with a Novichok at all? Their house, which was subject to a "thorough search", apparently failed to reveal the presence of 2 guinea pigs and a cat - which subsequently were found dead (or had to be euthanased) after the Skripals' relatives alerted the Russian authorities and demanded to know of their fate. We were then informed that the bodies had been destroyed at Porton Down - "in case they contained elements of nerve agent poisoning". The destruction of the bodies is quite extraordinary given their capacity to yield vital information as to the presence of Novichok traces in the house. Yet this seems very much in keeping with the reluctance of the UK authorities to provide samples to any impartial source - the OPCW were provided with samples only following a great deal of pressure, more than a week after the poisoning incident. There is clearly a desperate attempt on the UK Government's part to control the narrative and to orchestrate and curtail any independent investigation of the matter. As part of this, the UK authorities have issued a highly improbable statement purporting to be from Yulia which was clearly written by the UK authorities "thanking the people of Salisbury and the UK authorities for their professional approach" - even some UK media (Channel 4 and The Guardian) felt obliged to allude to this blatant ruse !
Each day we are treated to new developments which serve to undermine each aspect of the UK story - and yet the UK media continues to avoid the questions which it seems everyone is asking outside of the politico-media bubble: were the Skripals in fact victims to some other form of poisoning (food poisoning from the restaurant where they had eaten previously, for instance?) and is the UK Government, having set in motion a series of events by its intemperate and precipitate actions, desperately trying to control these? Are the facts - and the Skripals - being manipulated to cover the embarrassment of a Government which has made catastrophic errors of judgement which may permanently damage its credibility in the eyes of the global community? We must continue to ask these questions - and pressure the media to step up to the plate, which they have - thus far - failed to do.