Murray: Novichok, Rowley and the ‘Silence of the (Media) Whores’
21st CENTURY WIRE
At long last, the British government’s latest ‘Novichok victim’ appears for a touching and emotional interview. 45 year-old Charlie Rowley was finally let off the security services leash just enough to squeeze out a new official version of how he and his now deceased partner managed to find themselves in the middle of what ITV and the government-media complex insist is another “WMD Attack on UK soil”.
Clearly looking like a man speaking under duress, substance addict Rowley claims to have somehow found a batch of the deadliest nerve agent known to man, Novichok, laying somewhere (he can’t remember exactly where) on the side of the road disguised as an unopened bottle of perfume in Amesbury, Wiltshire on 30 June. He then proceeds to bring his newfound gift home to his partner Dawn Sturgess, but not before opening it up and spilling the world’s deadliest nerve agent all over his hands – but not fear, he simply washes it off under a standard household tap, which ITV makes a big point of – how this relatively trivial domestic action “saved Rowley’s life” (bringing it all home, well done team). Apparently, his partner Sturgess wasn’t so lucky after spraying herself with the “odorless perfume”.
Previously, authorities were peddling the official story that Rowley and Sturgess had got their dose of Novichok from a “used cigarette butt” laying on the side of road (no we’re not joking, they really said that). So now, according to this dim tale being promulgated by a desperate government and its media operatives, Rowley found a perfume bottle, boxed and sealed, which was laying on the side of the road for 4 months – left their by Russian assassins from the attempted ‘hit’ on the Skripals?
Verdict: As crime novel plots go, this would not pass muster for a made-for-TV B soap.
From the onset, this media road-show was custom-made for dissemination in a mainstream gutter press who, like the US and UK governments, seems as keen as ever to drum-up any xenophobic hate it can against Russia, feature canned tabloid money lines like this one, designed for the lowest common denominator, courtesy of Rupert Murdoch’s flagship propaganda rag, The Sun:
Drug addict Charlie has blasted Russian spies for killing girlfriend Dawn Sturgess, saying: “I’ll never get over what happened.”
The government appear to have tied themselves in a knot of its own making, further compounding a runway narrative that just keeps getting more and more ridiculous by the day. Clearly, someone somewhere made a fatal judgement call by convincing his or her establishment teammates that pig would somehow fly in Wiltshire, leading to another question perhaps: exactly whose bright idea was it to float the Novichok conspiracy?
Former British diplomat and political expert Craig Murray exposes the rank deception being shamelessly being perpetrated by the government-media complex…
By Craig Murray
The mainstream media are making almost no effort today to fit Charlie Rowley’s account of his poisoning into the already ludicrous conspiracy theory being peddled by the government and intelligence agencies.
ITV News gamely inserted the phrase “poisoned by a Russian nerve agent” into their exclusive interview with Charlie Rowley, an interview in which they managed to ask no penetrating questions whatsoever, and of which they only broadcast heavily edited parts. Their own website contains this comment by their journalist Rupert Evelyn:
He said it was unopened, the box it was in was sealed, and that they had to use a knife in order to cut through it.
“That raises the question: if it wasn’t used, is this the only Novichok that exists in this city? And was it the same Novichok used to attack Sergei and Yulia Skripal?
But the information about opening the packet with a knife is not in the linked interview. What Rowley does say in the interview is that the box was still sealed in its cellophane. Presumably it was the cellophane he slit open with a knife.
So how can this fit in to the official government account? Presumably the claim is that Russian agents secretly visited the Skripal house, sprayed novichok on the door handle from this perfume bottle, and then, at an unknown location, disassembled the nozzle from the bottle (Mr Rowley said he had to insert it), then repackaged and re-cellophaned the bottle prior to simply leaving it to be discovered somewhere – presumably somewhere indoors as it still looked new – by Mr Rowley four months later. However, it had not been found by anyone else in the interim four months of police, military and security service search.
Frankly, the case for this being the bottle allegedly used to coat the Skripals’ door handle looks wildly improbable. But then the entire government story already looked wildly improbable anyway – to the extent that I literally do not know a single person, even among my more right wing family and friends, who believes it. The reaction of the media, who had shamelessly been promoting the entirely evidence-free “the Russians did it” narrative, to Mr Rowley’s extremely awkward piece of news, has been to shove it as far as possible down the news agenda and make no real effort to reconcile it.
By his own account, Mr Rowley is not a reliable witness, his memory affected by the “Novichok”. It is not unreasonable to conjecture there may also be other reasons why he is vague about where and how he came into possession of this package of perfume.
The perfume bottle is now in the hands of the Police. Is it not rather strange that they have not published photos of it, to see if it jogs the memory of a member of the public who saw it somewhere in the last four months, or saw somebody with it? The “perpetrators” know what it looks like and already know the police have it, so that would not give away any dangerous information. You might believe the lockdown of the story and control of the narrative is more important to the authorities than solving the crime, which we should not forget is now murder.
Read more at Craig Murray’s blog.
Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010.
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