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09 Mar 2018 12:36

though i am usually taking ANY economic studies with a grain of salt, the following study attracted my attention b/c it's the 1st systematic impact assessment i came across. not prejudging anything, the study attempts to use the objective data and a scientific method...also, i have long been a reader of cfr

Trump Steel Tariffs Could Kill 45,000 Auto Jobs, Equal to One-Third of Steel Workforce

https://www.cfr.org/blog/trump-steel-tariffs-could-kill-45000-auto-jobs-equal-one-third-steel-workforce
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Re: Re:

09 Mar 2018 12:39

djpbaltimore wrote:We all know where Russia's nukes would strike, that is precisely why it was unnecessary to be so provocative about that video. It is Trump-like in its lack of subtly.

Agree with you mostly on the rest. Russia has the right to protect itself with nukes according to extant treaties. However, I think the threat to Russia from NATO is overblown. IMO, an attack from NATO would be defensive, not offensive.

I agree that NATO is not likely to attack Russia. The problem for Russia is not will they, it's CAN they? Lavrov, Medvedev, Shoigu, and Putin have been very vocal for a good number of years that they they see NATO's actions as preparing the landscape for making a nuclear war with Russia "winnable". This includes backing out of the ABM treaty, the Balkanization of the former Yugoslav state, a coup in the Ukraine, the vacuuming of neighbouring states into NATO, Aegis ashore, the forward positioning of troops and materiel along Russia's borders, war games in Poland, the change in the US NPR to include first strikes, and on and on.

Russia has been invaded a number of times and the last one was nearly enough to destroy Russia forever. This is something that will be considered every time NATO so much as changes its socks. Nobody should be surprised. Especially when Putin himself has stated that Russia will never again fight a war on its own soil. They are very clear and vocal about all of this and have been for 15 years. It's a shame it took all these new weapons systems for people to take them seriously.

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09 Mar 2018 14:27

Russia has been invading their neighbors since before the USA existed too. So, while I can understand why they want to protect themselves, I fail to see how they can simultaneously cry foul over their neighbors doing the same.
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09 Mar 2018 14:45

a military conflict btwn the nato and russia, like many military conflict in history, does NOT have to equal an outright attack of one by another...

many conflicts start via his majesty incident or a less than malicious intent/miscalculation that may later grow into a deadly exchange of all out wars...plenty of examples.

with a a military body of 29 members, many of which hate each other (ex turkey vs Greece) or dont quite trust the decision making of a nominal leader, a chance of an incident increases greatly. another source of an incident can be a deliberate provocation/attempt by a minor member (or prospective member) to draw the alliance into its own little post-soviet conflicts (ex. saakashvili invasion of south osetia)

when a country is facing such a bloated unwieldy military org constantly expanding to its core security boundaries, there is no time to count on anyone's good will except taking care of the hard needs of defense and deterrence.

in fairness, the same bloated and slow decision making within nato does not preclude an opportunistic behavior by russia. the crimea comes to mind, though frankly, i now see THAT as a forced action in response to a putch vlad's spooks missed...
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Re: Re:

09 Mar 2018 15:14

ScienceIsCool wrote:
djpbaltimore wrote:We all know where Russia's nukes would strike, that is precisely why it was unnecessary to be so provocative about that video. It is Trump-like in its lack of subtly.

Agree with you mostly on the rest. Russia has the right to protect itself with nukes according to extant treaties. However, I think the threat to Russia from NATO is overblown. IMO, an attack from NATO would be defensive, not offensive.

I agree that NATO is not likely to attack Russia. The problem for Russia is not will they, it's CAN they? Lavrov, Medvedev, Shoigu, and Putin have been very vocal for a good number of years that they they see NATO's actions as preparing the landscape for making a nuclear war with Russia "winnable". This includes backing out of the ABM treaty, the Balkanization of the former Yugoslav state, a coup in the Ukraine, the vacuuming of neighbouring states into NATO, Aegis ashore, the forward positioning of troops and materiel along Russia's borders, war games in Poland, the change in the US NPR to include first strikes, and on and on.

Russia has been invaded a number of times and the last one was nearly enough to destroy Russia forever. This is something that will be considered every time NATO so much as changes its socks. Nobody should be surprised. Especially when Putin himself has stated that Russia will never again fight a war on its own soil. They are very clear and vocal about all of this and have been for 15 years. It's a shame it took all these new weapons systems for people to take them seriously.

John Swanson


Pretty sure NATO/US/EU takes Russia seriously but NO nuclear exchange is winnable. There is only one real use for a nuke, and that's as a deterrent. Period. It is a crappy war fighting tool. There is no such thing as a 'limited' nuclear exchange. Any use of a nuke and it would become a global nuclear exchange. It is a human extinction tool.

Why it's been said that nukes make the world safe for a conventional war. AND I doubt even donnie sees nukes as a first strike/strike on warning, tool..even he's not that stupid(wait, maybe he is..)
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Re: Re:

09 Mar 2018 15:46

Bustedknuckle wrote:
Pretty sure NATO/US/EU takes Russia seriously but NO nuclear exchange is winnable. There is only one real use for a nuke, and that's as a deterrent. Period. It is a crappy war fighting tool. There is no such thing as a 'limited' nuclear exchange. Any use of a nuke and it would become a global nuclear exchange. It is a human extinction tool.

Why it's been said that nukes make the world safe for a conventional war. AND I doubt even donnie sees nukes as a first strike/strike on warning, tool..even he's not that stupid(wait, maybe he is..)


Too true! Which is why the latest NPR is so confusing. It clearly says that tactical nukes are on the table and can be used as a first strike retaliation for a conventional strike and/or "cyber"-strike. I think it was Lavrov that pointed out that behind closed doors, everyone is saying that nukes are still a deterrent but the NPR still says what it says and that Russia is forced to act based on that. That completely effs up the calculus and who knows what that does to increase the chances of an accidental exchange.

If there's anything good that's come out of all this, maybe it's that everyone will acknowledge how wacky this has become and start holding some summits on the subject.

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Re: Re:

09 Mar 2018 15:55

ScienceIsCool wrote:
Bustedknuckle wrote:
Pretty sure NATO/US/EU takes Russia seriously but NO nuclear exchange is winnable. There is only one real use for a nuke, and that's as a deterrent. Period. It is a crappy war fighting tool. There is no such thing as a 'limited' nuclear exchange. Any use of a nuke and it would become a global nuclear exchange. It is a human extinction tool.

Why it's been said that nukes make the world safe for a conventional war. AND I doubt even donnie sees nukes as a first strike/strike on warning, tool..even he's not that stupid(wait, maybe he is..)


Too true! Which is why the latest NPR is so confusing. It clearly says that tactical nukes are on the table and can be used as a first strike retaliation for a conventional strike and/or "cyber"-strike. I think it was Lavrov that pointed out that behind closed doors, everyone is saying that nukes are still a deterrent but the NPR still says what it says and that Russia is forced to act based on that. That completely effs up the calculus and who knows what that does to increase the chances of an accidental exchange.

If there's anything good that's come out of all this, maybe it's that everyone will acknowledge how wacky this has become and start holding some summits on the subject.

John Swanson


Are you surprised something out of this WH is confusing. Tactical nukes were always 'on the table', particularly in the ColdWar/Soviet era as the Soviets marched across the central plains of Europe facing vastly outnumbered NATO tank forces. BUT in wargaming(I participated in a lot of them at the NavalWarCollege), as soon as a local commander used a small nuke to stop the Soviet advance, it went global. What was interesting was the local commander objections to using a nuke in HIS country..even to stop the advance.

Need to get rid of this loony tune in the WH..he does nothing to stabilize anything.
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Re: Re:

09 Mar 2018 16:47

Bustedknuckle wrote:
ScienceIsCool wrote:
Bustedknuckle wrote:
Pretty sure NATO/US/EU takes Russia seriously but NO nuclear exchange is winnable. There is only one real use for a nuke, and that's as a deterrent. Period. It is a crappy war fighting tool. There is no such thing as a 'limited' nuclear exchange. Any use of a nuke and it would become a global nuclear exchange. It is a human extinction tool.

Why it's been said that nukes make the world safe for a conventional war. AND I doubt even donnie sees nukes as a first strike/strike on warning, tool..even he's not that stupid(wait, maybe he is..)


Too true! Which is why the latest NPR is so confusing. It clearly says that tactical nukes are on the table and can be used as a first strike retaliation for a conventional strike and/or "cyber"-strike. I think it was Lavrov that pointed out that behind closed doors, everyone is saying that nukes are still a deterrent but the NPR still says what it says and that Russia is forced to act based on that. That completely effs up the calculus and who knows what that does to increase the chances of an accidental exchange.

If there's anything good that's come out of all this, maybe it's that everyone will acknowledge how wacky this has become and start holding some summits on the subject.

John Swanson


Are you surprised something out of this WH is confusing. Tactical nukes were always 'on the table', particularly in the ColdWar/Soviet era as the Soviets marched across the central plains of Europe facing vastly outnumbered NATO tank forces. BUT in wargaming(I participated in a lot of them at the NavalWarCollege), as soon as a local commander used a small nuke to stop the Soviet advance, it went global. What was interesting was the local commander objections to using a nuke in HIS country..even to stop the advance.

Need to get rid of this loony tune in the WH..he does nothing to stabilize anything.


Oh yeah. Totally agreed. I thin we differ only by degree in that I think he's less loony than he's willing to let people believe because he thinks it gives him an advantage. Maybe not though...

So is it true that the Fulda and Suwalki gaps were mined with anti-tank nukes? It sounded realistic enough when I heard the rumor decades ago.

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Re: Re:

10 Mar 2018 13:17

ScienceIsCool wrote:
Bustedknuckle wrote:
ScienceIsCool wrote:
Bustedknuckle wrote:
Pretty sure NATO/US/EU takes Russia seriously but NO nuclear exchange is winnable. There is only one real use for a nuke, and that's as a deterrent. Period. It is a crappy war fighting tool. There is no such thing as a 'limited' nuclear exchange. Any use of a nuke and it would become a global nuclear exchange. It is a human extinction tool.

Why it's been said that nukes make the world safe for a conventional war. AND I doubt even donnie sees nukes as a first strike/strike on warning, tool..even he's not that stupid(wait, maybe he is..)


Too true! Which is why the latest NPR is so confusing. It clearly says that tactical nukes are on the table and can be used as a first strike retaliation for a conventional strike and/or "cyber"-strike. I think it was Lavrov that pointed out that behind closed doors, everyone is saying that nukes are still a deterrent but the NPR still says what it says and that Russia is forced to act based on that. That completely effs up the calculus and who knows what that does to increase the chances of an accidental exchange.

If there's anything good that's come out of all this, maybe it's that everyone will acknowledge how wacky this has become and start holding some summits on the subject.

John Swanson


Are you surprised something out of this WH is confusing. Tactical nukes were always 'on the table', particularly in the ColdWar/Soviet era as the Soviets marched across the central plains of Europe facing vastly outnumbered NATO tank forces. BUT in wargaming(I participated in a lot of them at the NavalWarCollege), as soon as a local commander used a small nuke to stop the Soviet advance, it went global. What was interesting was the local commander objections to using a nuke in HIS country..even to stop the advance.

Need to get rid of this loony tune in the WH..he does nothing to stabilize anything.


Oh yeah. Totally agreed. I thin we differ only by degree in that I think he's less loony than he's willing to let people believe because he thinks it gives him an advantage. Maybe not though...

So is it true that the Fulda and Suwalki gaps were mined with anti-tank nukes? It sounded realistic enough when I heard the rumor decades ago.

John Swanson


Just a rumor...never saw any of this in the wild.

Interesting take on Putin's latest developments.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/03/09/putins-phony-arms-race-217339

But watching the latest debacle from the WH concerning NorthKorea..donnie shows once again he's an idiot..maybe he ought to start 'talks' concerning North Korea by nominating an ambassador to South Korea..
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11 Mar 2018 08:11

nominating an ambassador to South Korea..


When you have a genius, sorry, stable genius, in the WH who needs an ambassador? :D
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12 Mar 2018 13:55

i have long been wondering where the us support for syrian kurds who turkey considers terrorists will end up vs-a-vis turkey ? there is a new report of a further escalation with the us getting kicked out from the turkish nato airbase (of course, the us spins it differently).

in public neither the us nor turkey have stepped back from their official positions while turkey continued to thrash the us kurdish ally in the syrian afrin...and the kurdish problem is only one of several where the 2 nato allies are seeing, to put it mildly, very diffrent....

to begin with, the oldest and sorest turkey's wound is the Pennsylvania-based old man turkey accused of masterminding the 2016 military plot and who they DEMANDED to be extradited. erdogan was shown a tall finger. then, just few weeks ago a visa scandal seemed to have disappeared from the m. east hot news list (to remind: america bared ANY visas to the turks in retaliation for turkey arresting some turky citizens working in an american embassy/consulate). turkey INSTANTLY retaliated by barring visas to american citizens. and among smaller other irritants to washington, the significant was the turkish decision to buy the russian s-400 anti-air system. to which turkey said it's their sovereign right, particularly when the us REFUSED to sell a similar system. 2 days ago matiis hinted there could be stiff sanction if the turks DONT reconsider. to which their fm YESTERDAY responded,' i want to see you try. ou retaliation will be swift'

while all this was/is going on, as any military amateur analyst would, i was wondering WTF erdogan got up his sleeve to be so intransigent with the 'boss' most every one would not dare to faced off against :Question:

indeed, besides the de facto civil war on the domestic kurds, erdogan is up to his ears with the syrian kurds, assad, greece, germany, the dutch, israel, armenians...even russia and iran who everyone knows he 'married' out of a temporary convenience.

i was saying to myself he must have something except his sultan grand arrogance. i really don't get it, as the turkish airbase restriction to the us is a pin prick given their world-wide alternatives.

https://ahvalnews.com/turkey/us-military-reducing-presence-turkeys-incirlik-air-base
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Re:

12 Mar 2018 15:14

python wrote:i have long been wondering where the us support for syrian kurds who turkey considers terrorists will end up vs-a-vis turkey ? there is a new report of a further escalation with the us getting kicked out from the turkish nato airbase (of course, the us spins it differently).

in public neither the us nor turkey have stepped back from their official positions while turkey continued to thrash the us kurdish ally in the syrian afrin...and the kurdish problem is only one of several where the 2 nato allies are seeing, to put it mildly, very diffrent....

to begin with, the oldest and sorest turkey's wound is the Pennsylvania-based old man turkey accused of masterminding the 2016 military plot and who they DEMANDED to be extradited. erdogan was shown a tall finger. then, just few weeks ago a visa scandal seemed to have disappeared from the m. east hot news list (to remind: america bared ANY visas to the turks in retaliation for turkey arresting some turky citizens working in an american embassy/consulate). turkey INSTANTLY retaliated by barring visas to american citizens. and among smaller other irritants to washington, the significant was the turkish decision to buy the russian s-400 anti-air system. to which turkey said it's their sovereign right, particularly when the us REFUSED to sell a similar system. 2 days ago matiis hinted there could be stiff sanction if the turks DONT reconsider. to which their fm YESTERDAY responded,' i want to see you try. ou retaliation will be swift'

while all this was/is going on, as any military amateur analyst would, i was wondering WTF erdogan got up his sleeve to be so intransigent with the 'boss' most every one would not dare to faced off against :Question:

indeed, besides the de facto civil war on the domestic kurds, erdogan is up to his ears with the syrian kurds, assad, greece, germany, the dutch, israel, armenians...even russia and iran who everyone knows he 'married' out of a temporary convenience.

i was saying to myself he must have something except his sultan grand arrogance. i really don't get it, as the turkish airbase restriction to the us is a pin prick given their world-wide alternatives.

https://ahvalnews.com/turkey/us-military-reducing-presence-turkeys-incirlik-air-base


Turkey has geography up its sleeve. It's the literal bridge to Asia. Losing Turkish airspace means that the US loses a significant amount of force projection. They can't park a carrier fleet in the Black Sea, and with the S-400 in Syria, there's a long way to fly from the Mediterranean to anywhere useful in the mideast. Supplying their mission in Syria and Iraq becomes impossible. Basically, if the US loses Turkey, there's a case to be made that they lose access to a large part of Asia and maneuvering in the middle east becomes tougher than it should be.

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13 Mar 2018 11:51

Russian military says will respond if U.S. strikes Syria: RIA

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-russia-usa/russian-military-says-will-respond-if-u-s-strikes-syria-ria-idUSKCN1GP0TY?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Reuters%2FworldNews+%28Reuters+World+News%29

my commentary:
this is a biggy. either the russian warning is heeded or the previously unpunished dijk waving will result in a possible escalation with a seriously armed and pissed vlad...
if i am not mistaken, this is the 1st time a direct and unambiguous warning was issued from the russian military. to remind, when thump decided to to launch the 60+ cruse missiles for the alleged chem attack, there was NO response.

let's see what happens next....
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Re:

13 Mar 2018 13:11

python wrote:a military conflict btwn the nato and russia, like many military conflict in history, does NOT have to equal an outright attack of one by another...

many conflicts start via his majesty incident or a less than malicious intent/miscalculation that may later grow into a deadly exchange of all out wars...plenty of examples.

with a a military body of 29 members, many of which hate each other (ex turkey vs Greece) or dont quite trust the decision making of a nominal leader, a chance of an incident increases greatly. another source of an incident can be a deliberate provocation/attempt by a minor member (or prospective member) to draw the alliance into its own little post-soviet conflicts (ex. saakashvili invasion of south osetia)

when a country is facing such a bloated unwieldy military org constantly expanding to its core security boundaries, there is no time to count on anyone's good will except taking care of the hard needs of defense and deterrence.

in fairness, the same bloated and slow decision making within nato does not preclude an opportunistic behavior by russia. the crimea comes to mind, though frankly, i now see THAT as a forced action in response to a putch vlad's spooks missed...
Or even nerve gas attacks on another country's soil? If 'little' incidents would precipitate an all out war between NATO and Russia it would've already occurred IMO. Fortunately it has not.

But Russia's nerve agent attack in England have furthered my opinion that they really have no fear of military reprisal from NATO. The whole notion of 'defending the motherland' makes for a good subtext though.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/12/world/europe/uk-russia-spy-poisoning.html
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Re: Re:

13 Mar 2018 13:29

djpbaltimore wrote:Or even nerve gas attacks on another country's soil? If 'little' incidents would precipitate an all out war between NATO and Russia it would've already occurred IMO. Fortunately it has not.

But Russia's nerve agent attack in England have furthered my opinion that they really have no fear of military reprisal from NATO. The whole notion of 'defending the motherland' makes for a good subtext though.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/12/world/europe/uk-russia-spy-poisoning.html

I have no idea what the truth is, but the accusations seem really short on evidence or facts and the ones we know don't make sense. For example, how did the perpetrators smuggle a "weapons grade" nerve agent into the UK? And how did they get away with it so cleanly? How did they disperse the nerve agent? I doubt the perpetrators just sprayed it around without using some obvious protective gear. Or did they use a timed or remote device? If so, how did they plant and conceal it? In order to make the attack in such a specific public place like a park bench, they would to have had excellent intelligence which would have meant a lot of people on target. An excellent example was the assassination of Al-Mabhouh in Duibai. It took 33 people to kill someone in his hotel room and get out of country before being discovered. I would imagine using a really dangerous substance like VX would be even more complicated.

Anyways, I have no idea what the truth is or who is responsible, but what's being reported doesn't make any sense to me. And all this for a washed up spy that had received a full pardon before being released from Russia. Hardly seems worth the effort.

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Re: Re:

13 Mar 2018 14:03

ScienceIsCool wrote:.... what's being reported doesn't make any sense to me. And all this for a washed up spy that had received a full pardon before being released from Russia. Hardly seems worth the effort.

John Swanson
the very specific accusations were pronounced way BEFORE the investigation even had put up a fence around the crime area. boris johnson, an experienced and smart politician, his eccentricity not with standing, knows better of how many potential scenarios may have applied, including a false flag op by his own spooks. perhaps in a coop with the cia...not that america and their lap dog did not try the killings before - no matter whose country it was. sometimes they got caught or boasted about their crimes after the retirement...

when poison was needed it was used.ask castro... when the invisible drones became the tool of the illegal killings on foreighn soil, they were used too. too bad, one cant ask the hundreds of innocent slaughtered civilians...

to me, liquidating of former double crossed spies - i put the hunted politicians in a different bin -is a very dark
and dirty business. all spook agencies are compromised in this gruesome statecraft. to somehow select one state assuming his/her state's spooks only play fair is STUPID. and very hypocritical to boot.

the double crossed russian spy got what he knew may happen the day he signed up for the dirty business. i do feel sorry for his girl though, who is likely a side casualty.
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13 Mar 2018 14:25

Skripal was not simply released from Russia after being convicted of high treason. He was swapped for other Russian agents. Very different circumstances.

I think the overwhelming circumstantial evidence points to one nation as the culprit.
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Re: World Politics

13 Mar 2018 14:43

The nerve agent used, Novichok, was developed in Russia; that, along with the spy's origin, is the connection with that country. One thing that is a little puzzling is why it apparently took so long to have an effect. While Skripal and his daughter were found unconscious on a bench, contamination with the agent was found in a restaurant they had eaten in previously (something the locals were not told until a week after the fact, which is another huge problem). So apparently they had been exposed to the agent some time previously.

However, since Novichok may be available as a powder as well as a gas, I speculate that it was dusted on the victims' clothes, and gradually was absorbed through the skin. This would be somewhat safer for whoever carried out this operation, not only reducing exposure to themselves, but not being connected with the operation, since symptoms were delayed (contrast that with the quick effect on Kim's half-brother, which was key in helping to apprehend at least some of the suspects). Though Novichok, like all nerve agents, is an acetyl cholinesterase inhibitor, it's reportedly ten times as powerful as any other nerve agent (much stronger than the agent Kim used to assassinate his half brother), and mostly refractory to standard antidote treatment with atropine. It was also designed specifically to avoid the chemical weapons agreement (much like chemists synthesize new doping compounds that aren't on WADA's list, and use of which therefore can't be sanctioned). As I understand it, the developer was a Russian who defected and is now living in the U.S.

I should also mention that most of these agents are binary, meaning they become active only when two separate substances are mixed. This makes them (relatively) safe and easy to transport.
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13 Mar 2018 15:15

^you brought an analogy to doping and doping agents...

you understand, that when as scientists we delve into a doping case, unlike a fanboy would, we normally deal with a formal knowledge which in one way or another makes certain facts and bits (both preliminary and later) available and free of speculations such as, a formal and official uci release on a banned substance found. or the additional circumstances, not yet confirmed officially, but uncovered by credible investigative journos....later, we get lucky to read and firm up, not necessarily agreeing on the interpretations, the the official verdicts like the cas or wada etc....in one word, there is enough information from several informed and credible sources, for an unbiased student to try to weigh the evidence.

in the politically-laced poisoning case like above - there is only one source and only one side so far doing the accusing and refusing to publish the back up materials. think about it, to take such a one-sided info, including what was the poison origin, who was the inventor, where he lives etc could be true as much as a cover up. the litvinenko case still is full open of holes and strange details that the brits refused to make public...

as i said, this is a very dirty and dark business. it is imo naive to take the info fed to the public w/o any back up evidence.

but to believe into some version is certainly anyone's right. one only needs to be intellectually honest that it ist their opinion not yet based on evidence.

without engaging into an argument, which cant be had yet w/o the independent evidence, i believe it could be a false flag op. or as probable as anything else.
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Re: World Politics

13 Mar 2018 15:16

Merckx index wrote:The nerve agent used, Novichok, was developed in Russia; that, along with the spy's origin, is the connection with that country. One thing that is a little puzzling is why it apparently took so long to have an effect. While Skripal and his daughter were found unconscious on a bench, contamination with the agent was found in a restaurant they had eaten in previously (something the locals were not told until a week after the fact, which is another huge problem). So apparently they had been exposed to the agent some time previously.

However, since Novichok is available as a powder as well as a gas, I speculate that it was dusted on the victims clothes, and gradually was absorbed through the skin. This would be somewhat safer for whoever carried out this operation. Though Novichok, like all nerve agents, is an acetyl cholinesterase inhibitor, it's reportedly ten times as powerful as any other nerve agent (much stronger than the agent Kim used to assassinate his half brother), and mostly refractory to standard antidote treatment with atropine. It was also designed specifically to avoid the chemical weapons agreement (much like chemists synthesize new doping compounds that aren't on WADA's list, and use of which therefore can't be sanctioned). As I understand it, the developer was a Russian who defected and is now living in the U.S.

I should also mention that most of these agents are binary, meaning they become active only when two separate substances are mixed. This makes them safe and easy to transport.


My understanding was that it was a USSR program to produce Novichok in the 70's and 80's with the bulk being done in Nukus, Uzbekistan. The components of this class of nerve agents isn't restricted, but the CWC definitely covers the agent itself. Russia has been in compliance with the CWC and being broke at the time actually had other countries help out in the destruction of its stockpiles. It was just a few years ago that the entire stockpile was confirmed as destroyed. Uzbekistan itself had the US come in and help decommission their facilities and help clean up the place.

I guess my point is that it's not really a Russian weapon so much as an old Soviet one. I can't imagine where Russia would store or produce Novichok weapons, nor for what purpose. To use chemical weapons you need to not only manufacture and store them, but you need to have weapons systems to deploy them. Russia could in fact have these weapons systems, but wouldn't they be rather obvious? And to top it all off, can you really store this for 20 years, or did someone have to cook this up recently?

I guess it was the Russians that did it using an old nerve agent that was thought to be scrapped, but is still being manufactured in Russia and that this was somehow the best way to kill an old spook in Britain... Seriously, the Seth Rich treatment would have been a lot easier and cheaper.

John Swanson
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