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by John Helmer, Moscow 

Alexei Navalny has given an interview to the BBC Russian Service contradicting the crucial  evidence and allegations which he and his associates have made earlier about the alleged poisoning attempt against him in Tomsk on August 20.

Navalny’s new admissions expose fabrication of evidence by the German Government and by the German Army’s chemical warfare laboratory in Munich. Navalny has now implicated Chancellor Angela Merkel more deeply in the Novichok plot than has been revealed before.  

Navalny now claims that none of his treating doctors at the Charité clinic of Berlin, headed by Kai-Uwe Eckardt (right), has told him that he was poisoned by an organophosphate chemical or nerve agent. “All I know about the kind of substance, I learned from the press – I have no  additional information. I have not seen people who are investigating or conducting the
analysis. We handed over all the items for examination to the doctors in Germany. And from the press, I know that this is some kind of, perhaps, a new modification of this organophosphate compound, which belongs to the Novichok group.”

Read the full interview in Russian here.

Source: https://www.bbc.com/

Navalny records for the first time that the only evidence he knows to have been tested by French and Swedish military laboratories selected by Chancellor Merkel was taken by biomedical sampling at his hospital bedside. “The only interaction with people in black glasses and plugs in the ear is when experts from the Swedish and French laboratories came. They have such a special thing – the chain of [evidence] custody.  They came, got permission from Yulia [Navalnaya] to take my blood and other tests. These special people witnessed that the nurse was taking blood from me. Some were responsible for the fact that it was this blood that would go to the French independent laboratory, others – to the Swedish.  Maybe there were others, but I don’t remember it – I was in a coma.”

This is an admission Navalny does not remember the testing of his blood and urine which the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) reported this week; that was carried out at his bedside on September 6.  “In line with OPCW procedures,” the official report says, “blood and urine sampling was conducted by the hospital staff under the direct supervision and continuous visual observation of the team members. The samples were maintained under OPCW chain of custody and transported to the OPCW Laboratory.”

Navalny’s fresh claim – published after the OPCW had sent its report to Berlin — indicates that the French and Swedish sampling occurred before September 6. Most likely, it took place after September 2, when the German Government announced that testing carried out before that date by the German Army’s chemical warfare laboratory in Munich, the Institut für Pharmakologie und Toxikologie der Bundeswehr (IPTB), had identified traces of Novichok on a water bottle.

Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said on September 2 that an ITPB analysis of the bottle evidence had been reported to Merkel and a meeting of her ministers: “on this occasion, the definite proof [zweifelsfreie Nachweis] of a chemical nerve agent of the Novitchok group was produced.” For details, read this.

Navalny’s latest admission, following on from this week’s report by the OPCW in The Hague, removes the “zweifelsfreie Nachweis” which Merkel had decided.

The bottle, or bottles, were reportedly taken from Navalny’s Tomsk hotel room on the morning of his collapse, August 20, and brought to Berlin with him by an assistant, Maria Pevchikh. For details of that episode, read this. This bottle evidence has now disappeared from the Navalny allegations and from the official German narrative.  It was not presented to the OPCW, according to this week’s report.   It lacks the “chain of custody” which Navalny himself has now repeated to the BBC.  

“We handed over all the items for examination to the doctors in Germany,” Navalny told the BBC. “The doctors, trying to understand how to treat me, sent all the things that we gave them to the army laboratory, which found the FOS [organophosphate compounds]. Now it is simply transferred to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.”

The last sentence is false.

Source: https://www.opcw.org/

Thus had Merkel’s government refused to hand over the bottle, other evidence, and “all the things we gave them” which had been sent to Munich. What exactly was the evidence sent to Munich has been concealed by the Germans, not only from public disclosure, but also from the OPCW inspectors.

Yesterday, in a fresh disclosure by the Russian police, CCTV and security records have been found at Novosibirsk airport of the check-in and luggage inspection of Pevchikh. Her claims on film and in an interview with the BBC to have taken the bottles from the Tomsk hotel room to Novosibirsk, Omsk, and then to Berlin can be followed here.

Source: publication of the Transport Control Department of the Siberian Federal District, Ministry of Internal Affairs.  The chief investigator identified in the report is Sergei Potapov.

“During Maria Pevchikh’s pre-flight inspection at the Tolmachevo airport (Novosibirsk city), there were no containers of more than 100 ml in the suitcase and backpack with her, including a water bottle. After passing a pre-flight inspection by Maria Pevchikh, a 500 ml bottle of Saint Springs water was purchased from a drinks machine in the secure  area of ​the airport, with which she flew to the city of Omsk.” Additional footage of the check-in and baggage inspection of Georgy Alburov, who was accompanying Pevchikh from Tomsk to Omsk, revealed that “bottles with a volume of more than 100 ml were also not found.”

Fabrication of evidence by the German, French and Swedish military laboratories is indicated by the Russian bulletin because of lack of substantiation of what has been sampled and tested,  or the press reports of the results. The Swedes, for example, did not make an announcement of their testing until September 15. According to the Defence Research Agency (FOI), “by extracting the proteins from the blood, and then dividing the protein into shorter amino acid sequences, it is then possible to use a special technique, called liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (shortened as LC-MS/MS), to analyse patterns in precisely the part of the protein that the nerve agent has binded [sic] to. Different nerve agents give rise to different patterns. Based on the pattern from the protein from the blood sample, one can determine exactly which nerve agent the person has been exposed to.”

“I can confirm that we at FOI in Umeå have conducted an analysis on behalf of our German partners,” reported Åsa Scott (right), head of the chemical and biological Protection and Security Division of the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI). “Sampling, transport and analysis have been carried out under a strict chain of custody, following procedures in accordance with FOI’s status as an accredited laboratory.”“Our analysis confirms the earlier German results. The blood sample from Mr. Navalnyj did unequivocally contain a nerve agent from the Novichok group, adds Dr Scott. ”

This Swedish press release mentions testing only of a blood sample from Navalny. This week’s OPCW report of blood and urine sampling identified a “biomarker”; it failed to find “a nerve agent from the Novichok group.”  

According to the ministry announcement in Moscow yesterday, “in total, the investigation department of the Tomsk Line Division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia sent four requests for legal assistance to the competent authorities of the Federal Republic of Germany;  one request to the competent authorities of the Kingdom of Sweden and one request to the competent authorities of the French Republic. None of them was answered by the foreign colleagues.”

Navalny was asked by the BBC if he would agree to transfer his medical evidence to Russia. Navalny replied: “Let’s not say the word ‘Russia’ because I am Russia, and all other people are Russia. And Maria Zakharova [Foreign Ministry spokesman], [President] Putin and Dr. Myasnikov [Alexander Myasnikov, a doctor and TV commentator on the Navalny case] are not Russia at all. They are just a bunch of occupiers [сборище оккупантов].”

NOTE: One of the leading British organophosphate chemists comments: "The statement from Dr Asa Scott is pure fantasy. LC-MS/MS is a very common technique, but it cannot do the job that Dr.Scott claims. It can certainly be used to determine amino acids. However,  knowing what amino acids or their ratios were measured in Navalny's blood does not assist chemical identification. Blood concentration of amino acids is a common technique; for example, amino acids and four ratios -- glutamate/citrulline, citrulline/phenylalanine, leucine plus isoleucine/phenylalanine, and arginine/phenylalanine -- are an analysis performed for early diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease. But these ratios and the individual concentrations cannot lead to the identification of a specific chemical which has caused the change in concentration. It's just not possible. 

There is no doubt that Navalny had depressed Acetylcholine Esterase levels. Dr Scott claims that by looking at amino acids, the presence of, the absence of, the ratios,  etc., "we can identify the compound that has caused this". This also  means that these amino acids and the ratios are the only results which the Swedish laboratory obtained from Navalny. Scott for the Swedes, and no doubt the French and the Germans too, are revealing that they are basing their interpretation of the results on the idea that the biomarkers they found can tell us that the causative chemical was Novichok. This is nonsense. The Swedes have really let the cat out of the bag here."

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