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Nerve agent attack

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Alexander Howard
1278445.  Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:48 am Reply with quote

crissdee wrote:
And yet 35 (iirc) people are suffering the effects of exposure. As I said before, a 9mm Makarov would affect only the target.


A Russian bullet in the head would be blatant and shocking. The intention here was that the target would feel ill, sit down and have a heart attack, which need not cause headlines. There would be just enough suspicion to cause fear amongst all Russian exiles. It was messed up though.

We should not see Russian spymasters as expert chess players calculating every move to perfection before striking: they can bungle with the best of them. Unless they have gaols full of serfs to test their nerve gas on, they could not know the right dose and application point to achieve the object, and even then it is up to a knuckle-head on the ground to apply it.

 
'yorz
1278447.  Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:55 am Reply with quote

Why a Russian bullet? Plenty of Western ammunition for sale. And one death by shooting would have been much less shocking and blatant. And not linkable to Russia per se.

 
Baryonyx
1278454.  Wed Mar 21, 2018 7:48 am Reply with quote

Maybe there have been hundreds of successful assassinations we haven't been able to spot. They always say, we'd never hear about the perfect crime

 
'yorz
1278455.  Wed Mar 21, 2018 7:49 am Reply with quote

There you go. Exactly.

 
Spud McLaren
1278537.  Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:26 pm Reply with quote

bobwilson wrote:
Youíve misunderstood me I think spud.
Not I. PDR - for my contact is he - writes:

Bob said:

    Nerve agents (which are chemical agents) dissipate rapidly when exposed to air. Biological agents are living organisms (for a given value of living) Ė and once out, theyíre potentially out forever and everywhere.

Iím afraid this is untrue on at least two levels.

There are nerve agents which will persist for long periods with remarkable resistance to the environment and others which will degrade under the influence of heat/light/pH/salinity. There are weaponised forms of nerve agents which remain gaseous and disperse quickly, but there are others which land on a surface and stick like limpets. There is at least one which is designed to sit in clumps on the surface of ponds/lakes for months until disturbed by people wading/swimming past. On the other hand there are weaponised biological agents which are robust and others which are not, although the former are rarer. All Iím saying here is that itís dangerous to make generalised assertions in this field.
Having said that, the dangerous sweeping assertion of choice would be the other way around. Biological agents (be they living or viral) are MUCH more sensitive to the environment, and as a rule they donít last long in the open before denaturing and dying (but of course there are exceptions). Chemical agents, on the other hand, are more likely to remain potent indefinitely because as a rule they are just inert substances. Put a pile of salt on the windowsill and it will still be salty for as long as there is a dry windowsill thatís sheltered from the wind & rain. Some chemicals degrade under the influence of heat/moisture/pH/UV etc etc, but if you were to make a generalisation it would be far more likely that a chemical weapon would be persistent than a biological one.

But nearly all bio and chemical weapons were designed to be no more than mildly persistent (a few weeks), simply because the idea is to use them to let you take territory Ė there is no point in taking territory if you canít go near it for fear of the dangerous substances.

Iím afraid this statement:

    Itís comparatively easy to control chemical agents Ė even with delivery mechanisms designed to enhance their persistence. Itís potentially impossible to control biological agents once theyíre released.

...simply isnít a generalisation that can be justified.

Alex said:

    The intention here was that the target would feel ill, sit down and have a heart attack, which need not cause headlines.


Iíd love to have a source for that because it seems extremely unlikely. If that had been the intent then it could have been achieved much more simply with any number of easily accessible medications that would have been undetectable afterwards. Heck, even an insulin overdose would be hard to detect post-mortem if administered with reasonable skill. Why the heck would they go to all the trouble and risk of getting a WMD? Russia claims to have destroyed all ver stocks of chemical and biological weapons, but this stuff was only ever made by Russia. From that we can assume it was stored by the strategic weapons people (a military organisation, not FSB/KGB). So when the FSB wantís some for an intel operation it would become a full politburo matter to get the two organisations to work together. Itís not just a matter of an army colonel talking to an FSB colonel over a half litre of vodka.

No, the choice of that particular nerve agent (one that is demonstrably Russian, has distinctive signature characteristics even in well sub-lethal doses and one which will be under extreme security because of its hazardous nature and the fact that it isnít supposed to exist) is all about sending messages.

If you are so absolutely certain that the intent was to kill why are the primary and secondary targets still actually alive? Theyíve had all the disadvantages (obvious symptoms and samples show where it came from) with none of the benefits (targets are not dead)...

 
barbados
1278540.  Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:43 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
Alex said:

The intention here was that the target would feel ill, sit down and have a heart attack, which need not cause headlines.



Iíd love to have a source for that because it seems extremely unlikely.

I had heard something similar to this from the "experts" that were paraded by the media in the subsequent days to the attack, so it wouldn't be too much of a struggle to come to that opinion.

#incidentally Spud ....when you are describing "materiel", what do you mean?

 
Spud McLaren
1278547.  Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:37 pm Reply with quote

I'm not - just take a peek under the quote from bobwilson in my post above.

 
barbados
1278549.  Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:43 pm Reply with quote

In that case, the same question to Pete

 
Spud McLaren
1278554.  Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:19 pm Reply with quote

Apparently,
Quote:
ďMaterielĒ in that context means supplies (eg food, ammunition, medicine, spares, consumables), equipment, machines, weapons etc.

The word has a specific meaning in the field of Logistics which is broadly similar but more constrained because the main concern in that discipline is management of the supply chain.

 
bobwilson
1278567.  Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:23 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
There are nerve agents which will persist for long periods with remarkable resistance to the environment and others which will degrade under the influence of heat/light/pH/salinity.


Are there? Not that Iím aware of, and nor does there seem to be any circumstantial evidence to support that assertion.

(If theyíve got it, you can pretty much guarantee somebody will have used it Ė and if theyíd used it, you can definitely guarantee it would have turned up as an explanation for a whole host of mysterious deaths on that portion of the tin-hat internet that hovers just on the borders of believable. Which it doesnít Ė trust me, I regularly visit that area Ė itís a great way to spot coming trends).

Quote:
There are weaponised forms of nerve agents which remain gaseous and disperse quickly, but there are others which land on a surface and stick like limpets.


That is true Ė the keyword being weaponised. Weaponisation almost always involves placing the payload into a receptacle Ė in this case, putting the genie into a solution.
Quote:

On the other hand there are weaponised biological agents which are robust and others which are not, although the former are rarer.


Also true Ė although non-robust biological agents are actually as rare as rocking horse shit. Itís the holy grail of warfare to find a biological agent that self-destructs within a predictable time scale, or targets an enemy intelligently.

Quote:
All Iím saying here is that itís dangerous to make generalised assertions in this field.


Iíd agree. Such generalisations as

Quote:
Broadly speaking chemical and biological weapons come in two categories - those which are intended to kill/injure people and those intended to deny the use of materiel.

That might be the MILITARY split between the agents Ė but thatís not the only possible dichotomy.

 
Spud McLaren
1278671.  Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:55 pm Reply with quote

Latest from the ectoplasm:

PDR wrote:
What we essentially have is Bob asserting his facts and me asserting mine. My facts are based on the course materials briefed over the years to allow us to understand and satisfy the various expressed requirements relatiung to making our products capable of operation in an NBC environment. I canít ďciteĒ the sources because they are (necessarily) classified. I donít know what Bobís sources are.

I only contributed to add information Ė people can make their own judgements.

 
barbados
1278867.  Fri Mar 23, 2018 3:15 pm Reply with quote

Didn't bob suggest his source was from the search engine that specialises in that sort of information - tinfoilhat.com and his suggestion was the lack of information available from that particular source was the key point.

 
barbados
1280283.  Thu Apr 05, 2018 2:14 pm Reply with quote

There was an interesting remark made on the radio this morning relating to the latest episode in the claims made.
If the UK were to prosecute the Russian administration for attempted murder, the Russian administration would be found not guilty - because it cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that they were responsible.
However, should the Russian administration sue the UK for defamation, then the Russians would lose - because the burden of proof is different. And using the balance of probabilities, the Russians were responsible. And that is about as far as you are able to take the accusations

 
'yorz
1280287.  Thu Apr 05, 2018 2:20 pm Reply with quote

Sounds like a sound observation.

 
suze
1280296.  Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:36 pm Reply with quote

It is an entirely sound observation, and it's more or less what Jeremy Corbyn has been saying all along. Boris chose to take a different line, and it's really a bit embarrassing when the Foreign Office has to delete its tweets because the Foreign Secretary had been speaking out of his hat.

The Guardian

 

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