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Is there a thread about the poisoning of Skripal? [title edited by MNHQ]

(702 Posts)
OhYouBadBadKitten Wed 07-Mar-18 13:41:38

I've not seen a thread about it at all, but surely there must be?

Fionne Wed 07-Mar-18 19:41:46

I came into see if there was after reading that a policeman who was first on the scene is also fighting for his life.

I can't quite believe the horror of it all to be honest.

OhYouBadBadKitten Wed 07-Mar-18 19:55:00

It is horrifying, for everyone concerned. I guess it's hard to talk about it without instantly entering into speculation about who was behind it and how it was done. Now we know it was a nerve agent, there are some worrying questions to be asked, but it's hard to ask them without scare mongering,

PatriarchyPersonified Wed 07-Mar-18 20:45:43

Nerve agents of any kind are incredibly difficult to manufacture, even in a high grade laborotory. The substance used (either G series nerve agent or a Novichok because of its non-persistent nature) was almost certainly brought into this country from elsewhere.

At the end of the day, there are plenty of very easy ways to kill someone. This is most certainly not one of them.

If you choose to attempt to kill someone like this, you are doing it knowing that it will be widely reported. Pretty good way to send a message to your political opponents, and signal your strength and willingness to act decisively to your supporters. Anybody think of any countries around the world with form for this kind of thing that have an election coming up in the next few weeks? 🤔

EdgeOf17 Wed 07-Mar-18 21:40:16

It has prompted authorities to re-examinine other sinister cases. Including that of Gareth Williams, the man who 'accidentally' died, and made his way into a holdall... sad

It beggars belief that they thought the public would believe that conclusion.

Really hoping for a recovery for the three involved. flowers although it is not looking positive sad

OhYouBadBadKitten Wed 07-Mar-18 22:21:01

How do you know about the type of nerve agent that may have been used Patriachy? It's a genuine, I'd like to understand more about it question.

It does seem that it's about the message it sends, the same as the more and more blatant political trolling and other forms attack - it's about saying they can control things and there's not a lot we can do about it.

I think we've been forced to relook at cases, that the UK probably conveniently tried to brush under the carpet for various political and financial reasons.

I too hope that the three recover too, and fully at that, though I suspect that's unlikely.

PatriarchyPersonified Wed 07-Mar-18 22:29:44

Because there aren't many 'types' of nerve agent and the fact they have only put up a small cordon means it's non-persistent (it dissapates quickly). If it was persistent then the cordon would be much bigger. This immiediatly rules out V series nerve agents (VX etc) and thickened G series. So you are left with G series (Tabun, Sarin, Soman etc) or Novichok.

My money would be on Novichok-5 or 7 as they can both be transported as relatively inert component chemicals and then mixed to create the agent just before their actual use. It makes them stable and easy to transport as well as difficult to detect. G series chemicals would be incredibly dangerous to travel long distances carrying.

I might be wrong but I doubt it.

The country that is the main developer and manufacturer of Novichok agents is.... You guessed it. 🇷🇺

PatriarchyPersonified Wed 07-Mar-18 22:30:59

This is all open source information by the way, in case MNHQ think I'm giving away state secrets.

You can Google it.

JustGettingStarted Wed 07-Mar-18 22:33:08

The radioactive stuff they put in that guy's tea lead a trail back (through airports) back to Russia. I guess nerve agents won't do that.

But at the same time, I agree that this was meant to be highly visible.

OhYouBadBadKitten Wed 07-Mar-18 22:37:09

That makes a lot of sense. Especially as only the close contact people were affected. How quickly would they be able to establish what type of nerve agent it is and therefore what size of cordon needed?

I am very aware that while we talk about it, there are real peoples lives hanging in the balance.

OhYouBadBadKitten Wed 07-Mar-18 22:43:30

So nerve agents like sarin are used so horrendously by Syria for example because they are persistent and dissipate widely while these new nerve agents are designed to be much more targeted?

PatriarchyPersonified Wed 07-Mar-18 22:43:38

You could relatively quickly realise it was some sort of neural inhibitor from the symptoms the victims would have displayed. Other than some industrial chemicals and pesticides, nerve agent is the only substance that could do that.

To ID exactly what it was takes a specialised lab. Samples would have gone straight to Porton Down for testing. (It's only about 5 miles down the road from Salisbury so they were prob testing it within a few hours).

StealthPolarBear Wed 07-Mar-18 22:48:09

Police man as well - why on earth didn't that warrant breaking news on my phone?!
What are their chances? Or is it impossible to say?

PatriarchyPersonified Wed 07-Mar-18 22:48:29

No Sarin is classed as non persistent unless it has been specifically thickened.

The old Soviet doctrine for chemical weapons was to use non persistent agents in areas you wanted to move into as they would kill the enemy and then dissapate relatively quickly, whereas persistent agents would be used for area denial as once deployed they hang around for a long time.

The specific agent used would depend on the exact atmospheric conditions as they all perform slightly differently in different temperatures etc.

Novichoks were developed primarily to be more potent and easier to transport.

StealthPolarBear Wed 07-Mar-18 22:49:15

Also - and I really really do not want to spread fear, I genuinely have no clue about this stuff - there has been a recent spate of white powder envelopes, here and in the US. I started a thread about it. All were harmless iirc.

Rumpledfaceskin Wed 07-Mar-18 22:49:44

I was wondering if there was a thread about this. It’s a terrible business. How would a nerve agent be administered without harming the person giving it? How do you make a nerve agent? Sorry, literally zero knowledge of chemistry.

Viviennemary Wed 07-Mar-18 22:54:25

The last couple of nights it's been discussed in great detail with plenty of speculation on Sky Press preview. Though I've not watched it tonight. The powers that be probably know a lot more than they're letting on. I didn't know about the policeman though.

OhYouBadBadKitten Wed 07-Mar-18 22:56:48

0 marks for me reading your post properly Patriarchy. Thank you, that's very interesting. Can you recommend anything for a non chemist to read?

The white powder is reminiscent of the anthrax attacks post 9/11 aren't they.

PatriarchyPersonified Wed 07-Mar-18 23:00:23


Nerve agents are incredibly complex organic chemicals. You can't make them without serious knowledge and access to world class lab technology.

It's not the sort of thing you can knock up in a garden shed. ISIS have been trying for years and haven't managed to get anywhere close.

In terms of using it on someone without being affected yourself? Small dose, delivered directly onto the subject from upwind and behind them? Prob quite easy but I'm just speculating now.

PatriarchyPersonified Wed 07-Mar-18 23:03:32


Nothing that's particularly easy reading I'm afraid. Also it all gets classified very quickly once you get past info on basic characteristics.

The general Wikipedia articles on nerve agents such as Sarin and VX are pretty comprehensive and about as in depth as you will get on open source.

SnowiestMountain Wed 07-Mar-18 23:06:57

Wow Patriarchy, you're clearly going to be a very valuable person on this thread!

A horrific yet fascinating incident, it seems I love all of your threads OYBBK!

yolofish Wed 07-Mar-18 23:11:43

I was just wondering about the lack of general discussion about this too... I cant pretend to understand the chemistry.

What did occur to me is: what is BoJo doing suggesting that the World Cup has anything to do with it? So 3 people are critically ill, something bad been done to them, and UK response is to say that some bigwigs might not go to World Cup in Russia this summer? That seems like some kind of big smokescreen to me...

SnowiestMountain Wed 07-Mar-18 23:12:57

Just to clarify that I'm so sorry for the people involved and so unwell in hospital, goodness knows why he's bringing the World Cup into it at this stage.

counterpoint Wed 07-Mar-18 23:36:01

Why use such sophisticated agents ( Polonium, neurotoxins) that all seem to point to Russia?

Why try and kill people by methods that draw attention to the killing being out of the ordinary?

Why try and kill in a crowded restaurant or out in the streets and not behind closed doors?

All conveniently carried out to get maximum propaganda and keep stirring divisions.

Is Russia holding elections next week?

PatriarchyPersonified Wed 07-Mar-18 23:38:21


Specifically because they all do point to Russia.

If you were an opponent of Putin right now, what would you be thinking?

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