King’s new clothes. The naked lie at the heart of the Novichok story

We went to war with Iraq on the basis of UK government lies about WMDs.

Now we’re being lined up for a hotter confrontation with Russia on the basis of UK government lies about Soviet-era chemical weapons being used on British soil.

Virtually nothing about the known effects on their victims of the Salisbury and Amesbury poisoning cases supports the government’s contention that the agent involved was the massively-lethal nerve agent Novichok.

Everything about the Sturgess/Rowley case points to it simply being one of the growing number of opioid overdoses among UK heroin users.

With the Skripals, the symptoms they exhibited – described by witnesses as hallucinations, rolled-up eyes and shortness of breath – led medics to treat them for fentanyl/Carfentanil/3MF poisoning.

They were thus treated. They did not die. Indeed, Yulia Skripal told her cousin there were no lasting effects. She appeared to be quite well in the brief media appearance she was afforded before she was ‘disappeared’ into some kind of protective custody.

Novichok on the other hand is an organophosphate-based poison that acts rapidly on the central nervous system (2-30 second onset after exposure). It typically produces seizures on the way to causing heart failure.

Survival of Novichok is extremely unlikely and is expected to be accompanied by permanent nerve damage – as was the case with Andrei Zheleznyakov, the only known human to live after exposure to actual Novichok. He was left with “chronic weakness in his arms, a toxic hepatitis that gave rise to cirrhosis of the liver, epilepsy, spells of severe depression, and an inability to read or concentrate that left him totally disabled and unable to work” until he died at his breakfast table a few years later.

There is a massive discrepancy between what we know happened in Salisbury and Amesbury and the government’s line that the chemistry involved was Novichok. But of course, there is a laughably simple explanation:

It. Was. Not. Novichok.

I’m going for fentanyl. Definitely in the Rowley/Sturgess case, and probably in the Skripal case.

With the Skripals, while the government’s Novichok story is clearly bollocks (which I bet a lot of senior politicians are now really regretting getting into), the person or persons who apparently deliberately attacked the ex-spy and his daughter might have used an incapacitating agent such as BZ (3-Quinuclidinyl Benzilate), which produces similar symptoms to a fentanyl overdose.

It was so incredibly stupid of the government to agree to go along with the Novichok angle it was sold by its spooks and military equipment suppliers after the Salisbury incident. And absolutely moronic to double down on the idiocy by dragging the Amesbury opioid overdose into an already-tottering narrative.

If the Russians had been behind the Salisbury incident, the UK government would have had legitimate grounds to condemn them whatever substance was sprayed on the Skripals, be it BZ, fentanyl or joke shop itching powder. Playing the Novichok card was as big an example of jumping the shark as Blair’s WMDs dossier.

The government has been able to sustain its ludicrous fairy tale about this miraculous instant/delayed-action, rain-proof/not persistent, deadly/not deadly ‘nerve agent’ and its elusive peekaboo container by browbeating civil servants (Of A Type Developed By Liars – Craig Murray), doubtlessly putting pressure on the police and medical services, and by relying on the media not to ask any hard questions – gagging them if necessary to close off key lines of enquiry.

The parallels to the tale of The King’s New Clothes are unmistakable. Sooner or later something will come out of left field to puncture the illusion. The government will doubtless shrug and say to itself ‘some you win, some you lose’. We don’t live in an age where lying to the public and screwing-over the population of a world-renowned historic city is reason for a government to fall.

How the mainstream media will justify its sorry connivance in the affair is another matter entirely.