'New legal high?' Twitter awash with mockery & conspiracy after Novichok hits UK again
The supposedly deadly military-grade agent has resurfaced in Britain four months after the March 4 poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia - this time hitting Charles Rowley, 45, and his girlfriend, Dawn Sturgess, 44, living in Amesbury, some 8 miles (12 km) from Salisbury.
The incident has already drawn immense government attention, with some 100 anti-terrorist division detectives working on the case around the clock and the government calling an emergency committee meeting for Thursday.
In the absence of any official account, Twitter folk have come up with plenty of their own. Very few, however, took the issue seriously, as most were opting for quick-witted comments.
The sizable portion of messages includes a mention of the FIFA World Cup, which has been underway in Russia and has, so far, been a great success for the hosts.
Some suggested that if usual suspect Russia is indeed practicing its Novichok-poisoning skills on the British population, the next target could be the English football team.
Can’t wait till the England squad are hospitalised by Novichok the day of the final and Russia win by default.— Chris (@ChrisW_1995) July 4, 2018
… or any other nuisance standing in the way of Russia's triumph.
It’s the Russians trying to dispose of the entire British population, at a rate of 2 individuals a yearGo the Russians!Are they going to win the World Cup?Novichok could be on the referees menu— “Mission Accomplished” (@beg_chris) July 5, 2018
Some suggested that one should look closer to home when seeking those to blame in the apparent Novichok spread.
All this novichok in Salisbury makes me think it’s nothing to do with the Russians but some one in Salisbury. Most things are on your doorstep #closertohome— Martin 🐝 93-20 💯 (@SolomonLX11) July 4, 2018
One user noted that, drawing on past experience, the British government might have decided it's time for a new Novichok media frenzy to distract everyone from the disastrous Brexit negotiations.
What if the government are just going to randomly poison someone with Novichok every time people start to realise what a car crash Brexit is?— Rob (@Robgreeen1) July 4, 2018
Others pointed out that even if it was Novichok again, nothing links it to Russia and it has never been linked to Russia before. The deadly agent was known to had been stockpiled by several nations and its formula is not a secret.
Novichok is an organic compound any chemist can make. Those strains don’t make Russian signatures from what I understand https://t.co/YV7NyOcAtp— Live Monitor (@amlivemon) July 5, 2018
Some of the tweets were ominous – but hardly genuine.
The horror returns. #SkripalPoisoning number 2: The #Amesbury Poisonings. Durable, weather impervious Novichok strikes again.#FalseFlag#Russophobia#WorldCupRussia#PortonDown#MI6pic.twitter.com/BI5ZBTttoj— Paul Mansfield (@azardsphere) July 5, 2018
On a lighter note, some commentators were quick to declare Novichok, since it seems to be spreading uncontrollably, the new party drug.
Perhaps Novichok is a new legal high? 🤔— wills_i_am (@wills_i_am) July 4, 2018
...novichok addiction in UK doubles in four months... https://t.co/6EDkECTjFm— aberplym (@aberplym) July 4, 2018
Meanwhile, the Russian embassy in the Netherlands, which also serves as the nation’s mission to the OPCW, posed a rhetorical question whether it would be smart for Moscow to use Novichok “again” on the British soil amidst the FIFA World Cup and after a crucial OPCW session.
How dumb they think 🇷🇺 is to use “again” so-called “Novichok” in the middle of the FIFA World Cup and after the special session of the CSP (convened by the way by 🇬🇧) that gave the #OPCW attribution functions. The show must go on? pic.twitter.com/a9FdJceWIv— Russian Embassy in NL🇷🇺🇳🇱 (@rusembassynl) July 5, 2018