Steele and Skripal: A Unified Theory

The Steele dossier is the collection of gossip and fantasy about Donald Trump, put together by former Brit MI6 operative Christopher Steele during 2016 on the dime of the Democratic Party.  It triggered the Russian collusion investigation of the past two years.

Sergei Skripal is a former Russian intelligence officer who spied for MI6 and got caught in 2006, went to jail for four years, and was then allowed to go to England as part of a spy swap.  In March 2018, he and his daughter Yulia, who was visiting him from Russia, wound up in a hospital after being poisoned.  MI6 says the toxin was nerve agent Novichok, administered by Russian agents, who smeared it on the doorknob of Skripal's home.

The Skripals recovered, says MI6, but have not been seen in public, and their current location is not known.  In June 2018, two other British citizens were poisoned by Novichok contained in a perfume bottle they found in a trash bin.  The connection with the Skripals is obscure.

The Russians denied involvement in the Skripal affair and pointed to a number of aspects of the story that make little sense.  But it caused, and continues to cause, major disruptions in relations among Russia, the U.S., and Europe.

Recently, a writer named Michael Antony analyzed the case on a Russophile website, emphasizing the holes in MI6's version.  (For example, the doorknob theory does not fit the timeline of the Skripals' movements that day, their physical reactions were not in accord with Novichok poisoning, people who came to their aid were not affected, Russian intelligence services are more competent than whoever did this, many nations besides Russia have Novichok, the Russians had no reason to kill Skripal, and so on.)

Most interesting is that Antony points out something omitted from most stories about the case.  When Skripal went to England, Antony says, MI6 steered him to live in Salisbury.  In Salisbury, there also lived a man named Pablo Miller, a retired MI6 agent who was prominent enough to receive the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2015 and who had served as Skripal's handler during his days as an MI6 spy.  In 2018, Miller was working for Christopher Steele, a former boss in MI6 and the chief organizer of the Trump dossier via his private intelligence firm.

From these facts, combined with the holes in the MSM accounts of the affair, Antony spins his alternative narrative, which is that Miller recruited Skripal to help make up stories for the dossier, and Skripal, realizing the value of this information and being a mercenary rather than an ideologue, decided to sell it to the Russians, who would have happily blown it up in the collective faces of MI6.

In this account, MI6, at the least, found out about this plan and incapacitated the Skripals with something other than Novichok and has kept them incommunicado.  A rougher version would be that MI6 actually tried to kill the Skripals with the perfume bottle, and when that went astray, the agency fell back on a less lethal alternative.

Antony emphasizes a fact that has received zero MSM attention: immediately after the Skripal poisoning, the British government issued a DSMA notice forbidding press mention of Pablo Miller, so the connections have not been much remarked.  But once one begins bouncing around the internet, more information crops up.

The most comprehensive coverage of the Miller-Steele-Skripal connection and the holes in the MI6 version of events can be found on the website of Craig Murray, a former British diplomat and current whistleblower, who has put up more than 40 posts on the subject and, most recently, a long analysis entitled "Pure: Ten Points I Just Can't Believe about the Official Skripal Narrative."

Murray is a proud associate of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange — he claims to be the channel by which the DNC emails were physically transferred to WikiLeaks.  He is called "controversial" when his opponents are being polite and "conspiracy nutter" when they are not, and I personally find his leftist tendencies uncomfortable, but on the Skripal affair, his logic and facts are powerful.  As he says, the establishment may dismiss him, but it does not even try to refute him.

Unlike Antony, Murray does not point a finger at MI6 because Skripal was too dodgy to reach any conclusions as to who all might have had it in for him.

As one rabbit-hops through internet links, one finds other skeptics, such as "The Salisbury Poisoning One Year On: An Open Letter to the Metropolitan Police (March 3, 2019)."

Few references to any of these doubts can be found outside the shadowy world of the blogosphere, but an important one appeared in a letter to the Times on March 16, 2018, in which a doctor at Salisbury hospital clarified that 40 people appeared for treatment as part of the Skripal affair, but only three of these (the two Skripals and a detective) required any assistance, and none had been poisoned by a nerve agent. (The Times story is behind a paywall, but it is quoted on several places, including here.) A search for further mention of this demolition of the MI6 narrative turns up nothing in the MSM.

In a radio interview in March 2018, Gregory Copley, editor of Defense and Foreign Affairs, noted both that Skripal was known as someone who would make up intelligence as demanded and that MI6 would almost certainly have been aware of Steele's activities concerning the dossier.  This information was summarized in the American Spectator, and the Daily Beast published an article on Miller, but in the year since the poisoning, these possibilities have gone unmentioned in the MSM.

Is Antony's alternate narrative accurate?  It seems plausible, and his analysis of the holes in the conventional story is arresting.  Patrick Armstrong of Russia Observer, a sensible go-to source on matters Russian, calls it "the best theory I've seen so far."  MI6 vehemently opposes the release of classified documents relating to the Russia collusion probe, which, combined with the DSMA notice, implies that there were indeed links between MI6 and Steele's operations, as Copley concluded.

I am not qualified to resolve this wilderness of mirrors, but the critiques of the official story by Murray, Antony, and others cry out for a response.

In any event, the reams of MSM stories that have appeared that do not even mention the Skripal-Miller-Steele connection should be dismissed from serious consideration.

The Skripal affair has poisoned relations between Russia and the West.  Further, because the Russians must be fully aware of the holes in the MI6 version, the failure to explain them must surely be attributed to malevolence rather than MSM incompetence, and they will regard the affair not as a cause of sanctions, but as an excuse for sanctions imposed for evil motives.

So it is time and past time for the supposedly responsible U.S. media to take a serious look at the case.

The Steele dossier is the collection of gossip and fantasy about Donald Trump, put together by former Brit MI6 operative Christopher Steele during 2016 on the dime of the Democratic Party.  It triggered the Russian collusion investigation of the past two years.

Sergei Skripal is a former Russian intelligence officer who spied for MI6 and got caught in 2006, went to jail for four years, and was then allowed to go to England as part of a spy swap.  In March 2018, he and his daughter Yulia, who was visiting him from Russia, wound up in a hospital after being poisoned.  MI6 says the toxin was nerve agent Novichok, administered by Russian agents, who smeared it on the doorknob of Skripal's home.

The Skripals recovered, says MI6, but have not been seen in public, and their current location is not known.  In June 2018, two other British citizens were poisoned by Novichok contained in a perfume bottle they found in a trash bin.  The connection with the Skripals is obscure.

The Russians denied involvement in the Skripal affair and pointed to a number of aspects of the story that make little sense.  But it caused, and continues to cause, major disruptions in relations among Russia, the U.S., and Europe.

Recently, a writer named Michael Antony analyzed the case on a Russophile website, emphasizing the holes in MI6's version.  (For example, the doorknob theory does not fit the timeline of the Skripals' movements that day, their physical reactions were not in accord with Novichok poisoning, people who came to their aid were not affected, Russian intelligence services are more competent than whoever did this, many nations besides Russia have Novichok, the Russians had no reason to kill Skripal, and so on.)

Most interesting is that Antony points out something omitted from most stories about the case.  When Skripal went to England, Antony says, MI6 steered him to live in Salisbury.  In Salisbury, there also lived a man named Pablo Miller, a retired MI6 agent who was prominent enough to receive the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2015 and who had served as Skripal's handler during his days as an MI6 spy.  In 2018, Miller was working for Christopher Steele, a former boss in MI6 and the chief organizer of the Trump dossier via his private intelligence firm.

From these facts, combined with the holes in the MSM accounts of the affair, Antony spins his alternative narrative, which is that Miller recruited Skripal to help make up stories for the dossier, and Skripal, realizing the value of this information and being a mercenary rather than an ideologue, decided to sell it to the Russians, who would have happily blown it up in the collective faces of MI6.

In this account, MI6, at the least, found out about this plan and incapacitated the Skripals with something other than Novichok and has kept them incommunicado.  A rougher version would be that MI6 actually tried to kill the Skripals with the perfume bottle, and when that went astray, the agency fell back on a less lethal alternative.

Antony emphasizes a fact that has received zero MSM attention: immediately after the Skripal poisoning, the British government issued a DSMA notice forbidding press mention of Pablo Miller, so the connections have not been much remarked.  But once one begins bouncing around the internet, more information crops up.

The most comprehensive coverage of the Miller-Steele-Skripal connection and the holes in the MI6 version of events can be found on the website of Craig Murray, a former British diplomat and current whistleblower, who has put up more than 40 posts on the subject and, most recently, a long analysis entitled "Pure: Ten Points I Just Can't Believe about the Official Skripal Narrative."

Murray is a proud associate of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange — he claims to be the channel by which the DNC emails were physically transferred to WikiLeaks.  He is called "controversial" when his opponents are being polite and "conspiracy nutter" when they are not, and I personally find his leftist tendencies uncomfortable, but on the Skripal affair, his logic and facts are powerful.  As he says, the establishment may dismiss him, but it does not even try to refute him.

Unlike Antony, Murray does not point a finger at MI6 because Skripal was too dodgy to reach any conclusions as to who all might have had it in for him.

As one rabbit-hops through internet links, one finds other skeptics, such as "The Salisbury Poisoning One Year On: An Open Letter to the Metropolitan Police (March 3, 2019)."

Few references to any of these doubts can be found outside the shadowy world of the blogosphere, but an important one appeared in a letter to the Times on March 16, 2018, in which a doctor at Salisbury hospital clarified that 40 people appeared for treatment as part of the Skripal affair, but only three of these (the two Skripals and a detective) required any assistance, and none had been poisoned by a nerve agent. (The Times story is behind a paywall, but it is quoted on several places, including here.) A search for further mention of this demolition of the MI6 narrative turns up nothing in the MSM.

In a radio interview in March 2018, Gregory Copley, editor of Defense and Foreign Affairs, noted both that Skripal was known as someone who would make up intelligence as demanded and that MI6 would almost certainly have been aware of Steele's activities concerning the dossier.  This information was summarized in the American Spectator, and the Daily Beast published an article on Miller, but in the year since the poisoning, these possibilities have gone unmentioned in the MSM.

Is Antony's alternate narrative accurate?  It seems plausible, and his analysis of the holes in the conventional story is arresting.  Patrick Armstrong of Russia Observer, a sensible go-to source on matters Russian, calls it "the best theory I've seen so far."  MI6 vehemently opposes the release of classified documents relating to the Russia collusion probe, which, combined with the DSMA notice, implies that there were indeed links between MI6 and Steele's operations, as Copley concluded.

I am not qualified to resolve this wilderness of mirrors, but the critiques of the official story by Murray, Antony, and others cry out for a response.

In any event, the reams of MSM stories that have appeared that do not even mention the Skripal-Miller-Steele connection should be dismissed from serious consideration.

The Skripal affair has poisoned relations between Russia and the West.  Further, because the Russians must be fully aware of the holes in the MI6 version, the failure to explain them must surely be attributed to malevolence rather than MSM incompetence, and they will regard the affair not as a cause of sanctions, but as an excuse for sanctions imposed for evil motives.

So it is time and past time for the supposedly responsible U.S. media to take a serious look at the case.