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By Liane Theuerkauf, Munich 

Last month Germany’s  Federal Intelligence Service (Bundesnachrichtendienst, BND) headed by Bruno Kahl (lead image) joined with the Chancellery and other ministries in Berlin to provide the first official catalogue of the German government’s allegations in the case of Alexei Navalny.

This was published on November 19.  Press reporting in Germany has been scant; in Russian, the texts did not appear in translation until last week. In English, there has been almost no reporting at all.  

Required to answer by a formal 76-point questionnaire presented to the German Government in the Bundestag  by deputies of the Alternative for Germany party (Alternative für Deutschland, AfD),  the combination of the questions and the Government’s answers reveals a catalogue of lies. By examining the fine print the extent of this lying becomes both obvious and shocking.

The full record of the questions and answers can be read in German here; the verbatim translation into Russian is available here.  For excerpts in English  and analysis, click to read.

The role of Maria Pevchikh
The German Federal Government pretends not to know anything about the water bottles and Maria Pevchikh as a source of evidence.

Question 38: Can the Federal Government confirm the media report that it was Maria Pevchikh who brought the water bottle to Berlin ?

Answer: The Federal Government has no knowledge of this.

Question 56: Is the information correct that Maria Pevchikh was on the rescue flight for Alexej Navalny from Omsk to Berlin?

Answer: The Federal Government has no knowledge of this.

Question 61: To the knowledge of the Federal Government, is Maria Pevchikh’s statement that she brought the contaminated water bottle with her to Berlin true?

Answer: The Federal Government has no knowledge of this.

Question 68: Can the Federal Government prove beyond any doubt, (a) that the water bottle which, according to video recordings, was seized by Alexej Navalny’s employees in the room in which he is said to have stayed, is the same bottle on which Novichok was later found; and (b) that the bottle on which the IPTB [Institute for Pharmacology and Toxicology of the German Army] found Novichok was already contaminated in the room in which Alexei Navalny is said to have stayed? 

Answer: The Federal Government has no knowledge of this.

Left: Maria Pevchikh leaves ambulance B 283 to enter the Charité Clinic in Berlin on August 22, filmed by Ruptly   at Min 3:27:22. Right:  Eight seconds after Pevchikh, Navalny’s wife Yulia Navalnaya leaves the same ambulance to enter the hospital; she is holding two handbags – Min 3:27:30.  For more details, click to read.

This denial in unison of all knowledge must be a lie.  Who if not the Federal Government can have authorised the Bundeswehr (German Army) to transport Pevchikh in armed convoy to the Charité Clinic in Berlin? Who gave Pevchikh an exemption to enter Germany and not require her to be quarantined according to the standing Covid-19 rules? Who arranged for the Pevchikh evidence to be handed over to the IPTB?  That was certainly not the Charité’s own initiative. The instruction must have come from high above. And the decision to transfer Navalny´s blood and urine to the IPTB was most likely already made while the patient was still in the hospital’s solid-shell EpiShuttle unit.

The lie is also indicated by the statement of the Government spokesman on September 11: “’The federal government has taken steps to secure evidence that has not yet been completed,’ said government spokesman Steffen Seibert.” What evidence does the Government claim to have secured, if not the water bottles and everything else which  Pevchikh handed over at the Charité Clinic?

Finally the government lets the cat out of the bag: 

Question 66: Did the German investigation authorities question Maria Pevchikh – if not, why not – and, to the knowledge of the Federal Government, is the report true that she regularly visited Alexei Navalny in the hospital ? 

Answer: An answer to the question must be omitted with regard to the ongoing mutual assistance requests. Despite the fundamental constitutional obligation of the Federal Government to meet the information requirements of the German Bundestag, the parliament’s interest in information takes second place to the specifically justified interests of secrecy in an ongoing request for legal assistance after careful consideration of the matters concerned. The interest of the general public in guaranteeing the proper functioning of criminal justice system is derived from the rule of law and therefore has constitutional status. 

Take note that the AfD had only asked if Pevchikh was questioned, not what she was questioned about. However, the Government does not even want to provide this innocuous information.

This secret-mongering confirms, firstly, that Pevchikh was interviewed  by officials; secondly, that the Government knows exactly who brought the water bottles to Berlin; and thirdly, the Government will not acknowledge that it has verified whether Pevchikh told the truth or was lying.

The evidence of Novichok traces

Question 73: As far as the Federal Government is aware, in the Navalny case, apart from the water bottle, are there any other items with Novichok traces?
Answer: Yes.

Original film posted on the Navalny Instagram platform on Thursday morning, August 20:   
Source with time tags:  For more analysis, read this.

How revealing this simple “yes” turns out to be. The “items” cannot be swabs from the palms of Navalny’s hands or samples of his blood and urine. Whatever  the items were – another unconfirmed possibility, Navalny’s laptop — they were on the plane to Berlin.

Chemical identification of the Novichok    

Question 33: To the knowledge of the Federal Government, is the information correct that the Novichok, which the Institute for Pharmacology and Toxicology of the Bundeswehr in Munich has identified, is a variant ‘that is even more toxic than the substance with which the Russian ex-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned’”, is even ‘harder’than the Novichok connections known up to now ?

References: https://www.spiegel.de/  (September 10) and https://www.spiegel.de/ (September 11).

Answer: The Federal Government has no knowledge of this. 

The answer is nonsense and makes a liar of BND chief Kahl, whom Der Spiegel named as its source: “The poison is even ‘harder’  than previous forms, explained the head of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), Bruno Kahl, in a secret briefing last week.”

The Austrian Der Standard had questioned the BND and received this answer which it published on September 11: “The Federal Intelligence Service only expresses itself to the Federal Government and the responsible bodies of the German Bundestag meeting behind closed doors.”  

And so now in November it is an outright lie when the Federal Government tells the Bundestag that it does not know anything about the September briefing by Bruno Kahl, also to the Bundestag.

Question 55: As far as the Federal Government is aware, is the media report true that Novichok traces in Germany could only be found on the seized water bottle, but not in Alexej Nawalny’s body, and if so, to what extent? (https://www.proekt.media/investigation/gde-otravili-navalnogo /)

Answer: To the knowledge of the Federal Government, the media report is not accurate (true). 

In this response the Government avoids saying what exactly is true or untrue. Unfortunately for its source the AfD had quoted Proekt.media of September 17 instead of going back to the original German source, Die Zeit, whose claims were published on September 9. “Navalny, according to the result of the analysis of the traces by the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the German Armed Forces, was poisoned with a new type of further development of the Novichok chemical weapon – a variant which the world did not know before this attack, but which is more malicious and deadly than is supposed in all the known offshoots of the Novichok family. The scientists found corresponding residues on Navalny’s hands and on the neck of a water bottle from which he drank. The two-component poison needs a special laboratory and cannot be controlled by normal criminals.”

It would have been much more difficult for the Federal Government to brand the Zeit report as false because officials had been the source of it.

Question 37: Have the investigations of the IPTB, as well as the French or Swedish laboratories, relied on another source [of evidence] besides the traces which were found on the contaminated water bottle?  

Answer: The examination results of the IPTB and the French and Swedish laboratories were based on biomedical samples taken from Alexej Navalny.

This means that only the biomedical samples contained Novichok – and they  were identifiable only in the form of breakdown residues or metabolites. Conversely, this means that if environmental samples were also taken from the alleged “items”, they did not contain any Novichok trace. The implication of this answer from the Government is that nothing was found on the water bottle. The further implication is that if the results of testing by the IPTB were compared to those of the other laboratories, they would not coincide.  

Question 41: Were the traces of Novichok which were found in liquid or powder form?

Answer: The traces found give no indication of the original state of aggregation of the substance used. 

This is an acknowledgment that the only evidence available to be analysed was metabolised residues or markers; in other words, they were the breakdown derivatives,  not Novichok traces as such. For more analysis of this distinction in the evidence, read this.

Question 45: Has the Federal Government given all the information it had available to the OPCW [Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons], and if so when, or why not?

Answer: On September 3, 2020, the Federal Government informed the OPCW in a letter to the OPCW Director General that the analysis of bio-medical samples from Alexei Navalny in Germany showed that he had been poisoned with a chemical warfare agent from the Novichok group. In connection with the Federal Government’s request for technical support, the OPCW then took and examined their own biomedical samples obtained from Alexei Navalny. In order to maintain the independence of the test results, the Federal Government has not submitted any laboratory or test results to the OPCW.” 

In other words: the diagnosis of Novichok was given to the OPCW, but the precise chemical  formula was not given. That remains a secret between IPTB, BND, Chancellor Angela Merkel and other ministers.  This is also confirmed by these two answers:

Question 52: Is the information correct that in the event of the use of chemical weapons, the contracting states must transmit all their data to the OPCW and the OPCW will supervise the  investigations  to follow?

Answer: The CWC [Chemical Weapons Convention] does not provide for such procedures. 

Question 75: Has the Federal Government announced the exact composition of the Novichok found, and if so, when and to whom, or if not, why not?

Answer: Given the high risks of proliferation, the Federal Government has disclosed no details of the substance used.

The reason the Government believes it is entitled to conceal the precise formula is elaborated in this response:

Answer to question 76: The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) defines chemical weapons as any toxic substance with the exception of those intended for non-prohibited purposes. The precise identification and naming of a toxic chemical, which is intended for purposes other than those not prohibited under the CWC, is therefore not required in order to establish a violation of the chemical weapons ban.

To put it this more simply: If I don’t use rat poison to kill rats, but instead I use it to kill a human being,  then I am violating the CWC.  At the same time, this means that no matter what chemical Navalny was poisoned with, the German government has assured the German parliament that it is definitely a violation of the CWC.

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