Saturday, April 14, 2018

Surprise comment on the Skripal poisoning

PBS Newshour interviewed Kimberley Marten on Columbia's Harriman Institute on U.S., Russia keep from escalating conflict after Syrian strike 04/14/2018. The Skripal poisoning attack came up, almost by accident it seems, at the end (and without the name Skripal being mentioned in the reported portion:

This is also not happening in a vacuum it’s happening in the context of a recent election that the U.S. Intelligence Committee says that the Russians didn’t meddle in. It happens in the context of poisonings in the UK of former spies. This is kind of a larger pattern of behavior does that all factor into how the world feels about Russia?


Oh I’m sure it does. But one thing to keep in mind especially about the poisoning case that happened in the United Kingdom is that there is some evidence that that particular kind of nerve agent Novik truck was used in the mid 1990s in an organized crime hit against a Russian banker and we don’t know that for sure. But there is some evidence there’s a recent investigation that’s continuing on that point. We know that the item was manufactured in Russia. That doesn’t mean necessarily that it was Putin as an individual who ordered it and because we know that there are organized crime connections with Russian intelligence services. It could actually be something that was done by a state agent but not necessarily with a state goal in mind of punishing a spy. It might have been for organized crime reasons in addition. [my emphasis]

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