Conspiracy theorists, especially those in the mainstream media and political spheres, seem to have no real imagination these days. Just look at how they have responded to news of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, his daughter Yulia and police Sergeant Nick Bailey in Salisbury, UK, last week.
Isn’t it just too easy to claim “Putin did it” these days? Yes, Skripal is a Russian and former spy for the UK MI6 who ended up in the UK as part of a spy exchange. And yes, there is a compulsion for western media and politicians to demonise the Russian Federation and their president every chance they get. But isn’t that particular conspiracy theory rather thoughtless – the conspiracy theory you automatically go with when you haven’t the energy or skills to actually look for something in the way of evidence.
As we would say in New Zealand – a “Clayton’s conspiracy theory.” The conspiracy theory you use when you don’t have a conspiracy theory! (For the uninformed, this comes from an old advertisement for alcohol-free drinks).
Why can’t the news media, seeing they are only speculating at this stage anyway, look at little closer to home for the source of the nerve agent used in the poisonings?
Only a short distance from Salisbury (8.1 km if you are a crow or an 18 min drive is Porton Down. This is the site of the UK Ministry of Defence’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory – known for over 100 years as one of the UK’s most secretive and controversial military research facilities. And well-known for their secretive work on chemical and biological weapons.
The map above shows how quickly one would get to Porton Down from Salisbury and back
Even closer (only a 15 min drive, or 6 km for crows) is the Defence Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Centre (the Defence CBRN Centre or DCBRNC for short) at Winterbourne Gunner in Wiltshire. It is a tri-service site, with the Royal Air Force being the lead service. The centre is responsible for all training issues relating to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) defence and warfare for the UK’s armed forces.
The map below shows how short the trip is to this facility from Salisbury.
Porton Down has barely been mentioned in the media reports of this poisoning – except more recently because experts from Porton Down are participating in the inquiry. But it seems to me rather fanciful that Russophobe conspiracy theorist Luke Harding should rave on about a weapons lab in Moscow that might not even exist as a possible source of the nerve agent and ignore this other source much, much, closer to Salisbury (see Russia’s Lab X: poison factory that helped silence Soviets’ critics).
Hopefully, the current inquiry will be open and come to a satisfactory conclusion (unlike the Litvinenko inquiry) and, given the murky world of spies and ex-spies, nothing would surprise me.
However, I do wish our mainstream media could surprise me once in a while by refusing to follow the obligatory narratives and perhaps do some speculating using real evidence.