Russia-blaming media & Tories roasted online over hasty Skripal claims
The UK government’s handling of the Skripal affair has been criticized following Tuesday’s revelation that scientists have been unable to conclusively prove that Russia was the origin of the Novichok nerve agent.
Netizens, including many leading British journalists and political commentators, have roundly criticized the leading cheerleaders of the ‘Russia Did It’ camp, including PM Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
"We have not identified the precise source, but we have provided the scientific info to government who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions you have come to,” Porton Down Chief Executive Gary Aitkenhead told Sky News on Tuesday.
7/ However, Boris Johnson claimed to have "asked the guy himself" if Porton Down were sure it came from Russia. "He said there's no doubt". This needs to be clarified.— Paul Mason (@paulmasonnews) April 3, 2018
For the avoidance of doubt - here is Boris Johnson clearly claiming that Porton Down had confirmed to him the source of the Salisbury nerve agent. Words matter. He lied. pic.twitter.com/oeuZNNxbAZ— EL4C (@EL4JC) April 3, 2018
Important this - even though much of HMG maintained the 'highly likely' line + did not suggest that origin of Salisbury Novichok had been traced to Russia, some overstated their case so there could now be a political price to pay https://t.co/aBUJUv9rNo— Mark Urban (@MarkUrban01) April 3, 2018
Boris Johnson claimed Porton Down said there was ‘no doubt’ they knew Novichok came from Russia.Today, Porton Down say they don’t know the precise source.It’s not Porton Down’s job to find source but to analyse what the substance is.So Johnson may have lied to the public. pic.twitter.com/amfvDWcTEi— George Aylett (@GeorgeAylett) April 3, 2018
Paging Boris Johnson and Theresa May when Porton Down's unable to establish where Novichok used to poison Sergei & Yulia Skripal was made. Let's see your "evidence" it's from Russia— Kevin Maguire (@Kevin_Maguire) April 3, 2018
It’s not just May and her government that have been slammed, though, with the mainstream media also criticized for peddling the government's claims without resorting to the need for evidence.
Absolute confirmation today my FCO sources were correct and Porton Down scientists not saying substance made in Russia. Awaiting apologies from all the mainstream media "journalists" who attacked me. https://t.co/KGobx9kBDH— Craig Murray (@CraigMurrayOrg) April 3, 2018
Porton Down CEO Gary Aitkenhead says scientists unable to prove Novichok used to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal came from Russia or establish its country of origin. A tad embarrassing for @theresa_may? https://t.co/pV5MGIjTk2— Ian Fraser (@Ian_Fraser) April 3, 2018
As many of us predicted, and contrary to the unequivocal claims of UK govt and the ‘experts’ repeatedly cited by UK US media, UK govt’s #PortonDown scientists now confirm they cannot prove #Skripal#Novichok is from Russiahttps://t.co/iri1WFrZ70— Charles Shoebridge (@ShoebridgeC) April 3, 2018
Others have praised Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for his hesitance in blaming Russia for the attack. Corbyn has consistently called for definitive evidence that the attack was carried out by Russia and that it was the country of the origin for the Novichok used to poison ex-double agent Sergei Skripal, as well as his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, on March 4.
A few weeks ago the link between Novichok and Russia was down to precise forensic testing. This was used against Corbyn's argument that we needed more evidence, as he'd argued with Iraq. Now they're saying it's about intelligence, not testing. But hey, we're the cranks I guess.— Liam Young (@liamyoung) April 3, 2018
The Tories have been caught red handed one more—lying, escalating tensions with a nuclear power, only for Porton Down to turn around and say 'we don't know if the #Novichok is Russian'. Guess who has been vindicated (again)? Jeremy Corbyn. #Skripal— Man Like Mike 🌹 (@19MF91) April 3, 2018
So Jeremy Corbyn's request for a measured, evidence-based response was in fact exactly what was needed...Did Boris lie to the country when he said Porton Down told him Novichok came from in Russia? https://t.co/Woq7TDDWbO— Jeremy Corbyn for PM (@JeremyCorbyn4PM) April 3, 2018
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