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    Russians attempt to kill ex-Russian security expert in England

    Russians attempt to kill ex-Russian security expert in England

    This happened on March 4th. Now the Brits have found traces of nerve gas in the small town where the ex-Russian security expert and his daughter lived.

    British Prime Minister Theresa May will chair a meeting of her national security team Monday after weekend confirmation that traces of a nerve agent used in the attempted murder of a Russian former double agent were found in a pub and a restaurant he visited.

    May and senior ministers will receive an update on the investigation into the March 4 attack on Sergei Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia, as pressure mounts in Britain for answers over the incident.


    The Times reported that the prime minister is on the brink of publicly declaring Russia's involvement, possibly following the national security council meeting.


    She is considering a raft of "hard line" responses, with diplomatic expulsions and rescinding the visas of Kremlin-linked residents among the possible measures, the paper said.


    The Russian pair were found slumped on a bench in Salisbury, southwest England, and remain in a critical but stable condition in hospital. Authorities have yet to confirm the precise substance involved in the attack.


    Sally Davies, England's chief medical officer, revealed Sunday that up to 500 people who may have come into minimal contact with the nerve agent should wash their clothes and belongings as a precaution.
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    Russians poison ex-spy on British soil...

    Nerve Agent Found In U.K. Is Rare And Definitely Russian
    March 12, 2018 - The type of nerve agent used to poison a former Russian spy and his daughter in the U.K. was developed in a top-secret laboratory in Moscow and was once a closely held secret of the Russian government.
    Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were found slumped on a bench in the city of Salisbury on March 4. Experts quickly assessed that Skripal — a former Russian intelligence official accused of spying for the British — had been poisoned with a nerve agent. On Monday, British Prime Minister Theresa May named the agent in a speech before Parliament. "It is now clear that Mr. Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia," she said. "This is part of a group of nerve agents known as Novichok." Novichok agents are extremely rare. "As far as I know, I don't know anybody who knows how to make it except these guys in Russia," says Dan Kaszeta, a chemical weapons expert with Strongpoint Security in London. "They've been a deep, dark secret."

    Novichok means "newcomer" in Russian. Kaszeta says that Novichok agents were developed in the 1980s as a new weapon in the waning days of the Cold War. Novichok chemicals were designed to evade equipment carried by NATO troops. "They wanted to develop nerve agents that the West couldn't detect," he says. According to a defector's report published by the Stimson Center in 1995, they were developed at the State Scientific Research Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technology in Moscow. As the U.S. and Russia were laying the groundwork to dismantle their chemical weapons stockpiles, researchers at the institute were working in secret to develop the new Novichok chemicals.


    Military personnel wearing protective suits investigate the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, England. Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, remain critically ill.

    According to the report, by a former scientist named Vil Mirzayanov, the agents were similar to deadly nerve agents but far more powerful. They were also designed to be made using commercially available chemicals, organophosphates, used in fertilizers and pesticides. The goal was to develop a new class of nerve agents that could be stockpiled in secret, even as the U.S. and Russia pledged to destroy their existing chemical weapons. According to Mirzaryanov's report, several new agents emerged from the Novichok program. One, known as Novichok-5, was five to eight times as deadly as the agent VX, which was used last year to kill the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

    In 1997, the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force, and Russia began dismantling most of its chemical stocks. The Novichok program was never declared. Mirzayanov's report from two years earlier stated that several tons of "experimental" agents were produced. As to why anyone would use such an unusual agent, Kaszeta says he's not sure. It's possible, given the historic secrecy around the program, that the culprit might have thought it would go undetected. "Maybe somebody somewhere felt they could get away with it," he says. Then again, he says, it could have just as well been used to send a clear message to would-be spies and defectors: "It's much more than waking up with a horse head in your bed."

    https://www.npr.org/sections/paralle...nitely-russian
    See also:

    U.K. Prime Minister Says 'Highly Likely' Russia Responsible For Ex-Spy Poisoning
    March 12, 2018 • "It is now clear that Mr. Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia," May told lawmakers in a statement on Monday.
    British Prime Minister Theresa May says it is "highly likely" that Russia is behind the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter earlier this month in southern England. Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were found collapsed on a bench on March 4 in the city of Salisbury. They remain in critical condition, according to The Associated Press. "It is now clear that Mr. Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia," May told lawmakers in a statement on Monday. She said the agent has been identified as one of a group of nerve agents called Novichok, which Russia has previously produced.

    She added that there are just two explanations for the apparent poisoning — either Russia directly carried out the attack or it lost control of its supply of the deadly nerve agent. The Russian ambassador has been summoned to explain how this happened, May added, and has been asked to give a formal response by Tuesday. And if that response is not credible, May said, "we will conclude that this action amounts to an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom. And I will come back to this house and set out the full range of measures that we will take in response."

    This case has drawn parallels with a Russia-linked death of a defected Russian intelligence officer in 2006, as NPR's Scott Neuman reported. Here's more: "Skripal had retired from Russia's SVR foreign intelligence service, a successor to the KGB, when he was arrested and convicted in 2006 of working undercover for Britain's MI6. In 2010 he arrived in the U.K. as part of a prisoner swap between Moscow and Washington." When the BBC asked Russian President Vladimir Putin whether Russia was responsible, he replied: "Get to the bottom of things there, then we'll discuss this." "Having established that a nerve agent is the cause of the symptoms leading us to treat this as attempted murder, I can also confirm that we believe that the two people who became unwell were targeted specifically," Metropolitan Police counterterrorism chief Mark Rowley said at a news conference last week, Scott added.

    Nerve agents are "designed only to kill," Leeds University toxicologist Alastair Hay told NPR. The weapons "work by blocking the message from the nerves to the muscles," which could affect the muscles used to breathe, potentially causing asphyxiation. "Trace contamination" was found at two Salisbury establishments — The Mill Pub and Zizzi Restaurant — England's chief medical officer announced Sunday, as NPR's Amy Held reported. People in those establishments on March 4 or 5 were encouraged to clean the clothes they were wearing or wipe down belongings. At the same time, officials stated that there is "no immediate health risk." A policeman who was responding to the incident, Det. Sgt. Nick Bailey, remains in "serious but stable condition," May said Monday.

    https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-...-spy-poisoning
    Last edited by waltky; 03-12-2018 at 05:20 PM.

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    They must not have gotten much of a dose. Very little will kill you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter1469 View Post
    They must not have gotten much of a dose. Very little will kill you.
    I am not familiar with that one.
    I don't insult, I diagnose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crepitus View Post
    I am not familiar with that one.
    10 mg of VX will kill you in 10 minutes. Smaller doses can take an hour. This stuff is no joke.

    I got to go to the Army facility that was destroying our chemical stock pile. A bunch of officers and me. We went into a contained room in full MOPP and one of the staff released small amounts of various agents and explained what they would do to us if we were not protected. I can't remember which agent it was, but he released it right under my face. I calmly took a step back.

    The fun part of the trip- we flew back to Campbell on a C-130 and landed on a dirt runway. Very hard breaking to stop in time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter1469 View Post
    10 mg of VX will kill you in 10 minutes. Smaller doses can take an hour. This stuff is no joke.

    I got to go to the Army facility that was destroying our chemical stock pile. A bunch of officers and me. We went into a contained room in full MOPP and one of the staff released small amounts of various agents and explained what they would do to us if we were not protected. I can't remember which agent it was, but he released it right under my face. I calmly took a step back.

    The fun part of the trip- we flew back to Campbell on a C-130 and landed on a dirt runway. Very hard breaking to stop in time.
    I don't think it was VX. I am familiar with that.
    I don't insult, I diagnose.

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    Russia uses Novichok which is much more lethal than VX.

    Quote Originally Posted by Crepitus View Post
    I don't think it was VX. I am familiar with that.
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    What are nerve agents and what do they do?...

    Russian spy: What are Novichok agents and what do they do?
    13 Mar.`18 - A former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned by a chemical that is part of a group of nerve agents known as Novichok, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has said.
    Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain critically ill after the attempted murder in Salisbury on 4 March. The chemical was identified by experts at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down. So what do we know about this group of military-grade nerve agents.

    1) They were developed in the Soviet Union

    The name Novichok means "newcomer" in Russian, and applies to a group of advanced nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s. They were known as fourth-generation chemical weapons and were developed under a Soviet programme codenamed "Foliant". In 1999, defence officials from the US travelled to Uzbekistan to help dismantle and decontaminate one of the former Soviet Union's largest chemical weapons testing facilities. According to a senior defector, the Soviets used the plant to produce and test small batches of Novichok. These nerve agents were designed to escape detection by international inspectors.


    2) They are more toxic than other agents

    One of the group of chemicals known as Novichoks - A-230 - is reportedly 5-8 times more toxic than VX nerve agent. "This is a more dangerous and sophisticated agent than sarin or VX and is harder to identify," says Professor Gary Stephens, a pharmacology expert at the University of Reading. VX agent was the chemical used to kill the half-brother of Kim Jong-un last year, according to the US. A number of variants of A-230 have been manufactured. One of these experimental chemicals - A-232 - was reportedly used by the Russian military as the basis for a chemical weapon, known as Novichok-5.

    3) Novichoks exist in various forms

    While some Novichok agents are liquids, others are thought to exist in solid form. This means they could be dispersed as an ultra-fine powder. Some of the agents are also reported to be "binary weapons", meaning the nerve agent is typically stored as two less toxic chemical ingredients. When these are mixed, they react to produce the active toxic agent. This makes the ingredients easier to transport, handle and store as they only become fully toxic when mixed. "One of the main reasons these agents are developed is because their component parts are not on the banned list," says Professor Stephens. "It means the chemicals that are mixed to create it are much easier to deliver with no risk to the health of the courier."

    4) Some can take effect very quickly

    The Novichoks were designed to be more toxic than other chemical weapons, so some versions would begin to take effect rapidly - on the order of 30 seconds to two minutes. The main route of exposure is likely to be through inhalation, though they could also be absorbed through the skin. However, in powder form an agent might take longer to act.

    5) The symptoms are similar to those of other nerve agents

    It is thought Novichok agents have similar effects to other nerve agents. This means they act by blocking the messages from the nerves to the muscles, causing a collapse of many bodily functions. Symptoms include white eyes, as the pupils become constricted, convulsions, drooling and, in the worse cases, coma, respiratory failure and death. These agents primarily cause a slowing of the heart and restriction of the airways, leading to death by asphyxiation. Some Novichok variants have been specifically designed to resist standard nerve agent antidotes. If a person is exposed to it, their clothing should be removed and their skin washed with soap and water. Their eyes should be rinsed and they should be given oxygen.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-43377698

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    Novichok has scared American weapons experts...

    The Nerve Agent Too Deadly to Use. Until Someone Did.
    MARCH 13, 2018 — For nearly three decades, since a Soviet whistle-blower told the world of its existence, the nerve agent Novichok has scared American weapons experts. The Pentagon sent teams to destroy abandoned laboratories that once produced the chemical, believed to be orders of magnitude more lethal than sarin or VX.
    There was no sign of it ever being used. Until last week. Now, Britons are taking in the disquieting information that a Novichok nerve agent, a weapon invented for use against NATO troops, was released in the quiet town of Salisbury, its target a former Russian spy named Sergei V. Skripal. Mr. Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, collapsed onto a bench in a catatonic state on March 4, and remain hospitalized, in critical condition. Britain’s Home Ministry on Tuesday indicated that it viewed state-sponsored violence by Moscow as a larger problem, announcing that it would scrutinize a series of suspicious deaths of Russians on British soil. Home Minister Amber Rudd said the police and MI5, Britain’s domestic security agency, would review 14 cases cataloged last year in an investigation by BuzzFeed. The British police also announced an investigation into the death on Monday of Nikolai Glushkov, a close associate of one of Mr. Putin’s most prominent foes. In interviews, chemical weapons experts said it was possible that Novichok nerve agents had been used before on Kremlin targets in Britain, but had escaped detection.

    Exposure, either by inhalation or through the skin, leads to muscle spasms, secretion of fluid into the lungs and organ failure, sometimes accompanied by foaming at the mouth. But if the victim has already died, experts said, the police could easily mistake the cause of death for a simple heart attack. “It’s entirely likely that we have seen someone expire from this and not realized it,” said Daniel M. Gerstein, a former senior official at the United States Department of Homeland Security who is now at the RAND Corporation. “We realized in this case because they were found unresponsive on a park bench. Had it been a higher dose, maybe they would have died and we would have thought it was natural causes.” The Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, said on Tuesday that his country had nothing to do with Mr. Skripal’s poisoning, dismissing Britain’s allegation that Moscow was to blame as “nonsense.” Britain had sought an explanation from Russia by the end of the day on Tuesday on how the nerve agent could have been used. But Mr. Lavrov said that Moscow “had received an incoherent response” when it asked London for details, which he said amounted to a “rejection of our legitimate demands.”

    The dispute between the two countries has sharply worsened tensions between Russia and the West, already strained by Moscow’s role in the Syrian conflict and its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. Though American laboratories stopped producing nerve agents around 1970, after the production of so-called third-generation nerve agents like sarin and VX, Soviet scientists continued their work for two decades, producing a “fourth generation.” The Novichok nerve agents came in solid form, like a powder or thick paste, and would not register on the chemical detector paper that NATO troops used. A chemist who worked in the laboratory developing Novichok accidentally inhaled fumes while filling a syringe, and collapsed. Though he was injected with an antidote and eventually awoke, he suffered from depression and epilepsy and died five years later, leaving Vil Mirzayanov, a scientist who helped develop the agent, deeply disillusioned. “Antidotes exist, but what does antidote mean?” Mr. Mirzayanov, who had leaked the project to the press and later immigrated to the United States, told Sky News on Tuesday. “You’re saving a person who has been exposed to this gas — but temporarily, not to die this time. But he will be an invalid for the rest of his life.”

    Andrew C. Weber, a former assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs, recalls picking his way through a secret, abandoned Soviet research facility in Nukus, Uzbekistan, which the United States was asked to helped destroy in the early 2000s. Entering a basement room, Mr. Weber saw a disturbing sight: “dozens and dozens of restraining devices” used to immobilize dogs while their skin was exposed to Novichok agents in the form of a powder or paste. He said that he believed each test involved 50 to 100 dogs, and that at least 1,000 dogs had been killed at the facility. The Pentagon, Mr. Weber said, “devoted a lot of resources to improving our protection, detection and countermeasures against it.” But it did not anticipate its use in an assassination, he said, in part because it was so easily traced to Russia. “It’s obviously tightly controlled by the Russian government,” he said. “It’s implausible to me — possible, but not probable — that this chemical weapon would have been diverted from a Russian facility. It would be well guarded.”

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