Dawn Sturgess – a victim & tool of cold war propaganda

Summary: The Skirpal hit is a story of our time. Propaganda for the cold war, domestic interventions by spooks, cooperative journalists and law enforcement agencies – and a gullible public. A brave few stand against the lies. We should listen to them, act on what we learn, and mourn those sacrificed by our leaders.

Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus.
— Latin for “false in one thing, false in everything.” English common law principle (Wikipedia) that “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”

Dawn Sturgess

It was a story like those from the James Bond novels. Russian assassins assassinated a former Russian military intelligence officer, Sergei Skripal, in the British town of Salisbury. In broad daylight, using a high-tech poison. It provided a useful boost to the new Cold War: “Trump Adds to Sanctions on Russia Over Skripals.” The story quickly disintegrated. But the beauty of government propaganda in our era is that it need not make sense. Like pleasant peasants, we believe what we are told. We ignore people like Craig Murray, ruining the narratives that structure our lives.

No Inquest for Dawn Sturgess

By Craig Murray at his website, 18 October 2019.

The killing of poor Dawn Sturgess was much the most serious of the events in Salisbury and Amesbury that attracted international attention. Yet nobody has been charged, no arrest warrant issued and no inquest held.

The inquest for Dawn Sturgess has today been yet again postponed, for the fourth time, and for the first time no new prospective date has been given for it to open. Alarmingly, the coroner’s office are referring press enquiries to Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command – which ought to have no role in an inquest process supposed to be independent of the police.

It appears very probable that the independent coroner’s inquiry process is going to be cancelled and, as in the case of David Kelly, replaced by a politically controlled “public inquiry” with a trusty or malleable judge in charge, like Lord Hutton of Kincora. This is because the truth of Dawn Sturgess’ death in itself destroys key elements of the government’s narrative on what happened in Salisbury.

Simply put, the chemical that killed Dawn Sturgess could not have been the same that allegedly poisoned the Skripals. Charlie Rowley is adamant that he found it in a packaged and fully sealed perfume bottle, in a charity bin. Furthermore, he states that it was a charity bin he combed through regularly and it had not been there earlier, in the three months between the alleged attack on the Skripals and his taking it from the bin.

The government narrative that “Boshirov and Petrov” used that perfume bottle to attack the Skripals, then somehow resealed the cellophane, and disposed of it in the bin, depends on the Russians having a tiny plastic resealing technology concealed on them (and why bother?), on their taking a long detour to dispose of the “perfume” in a charity bin – the one method that guaranteed it being found and reused – and the “perfume” then achieving a lengthy period of invisibility in the bin before appearing again three months later.

Those are only some of a number of inconvenient facts. Perfume does not come as a gel; it cannot both have been applied as a gel to the Skripals’ doorknob and sprayed on to Dawn Sturgess’ wrists. Gels do not spray. Neither Porton Down nor the OPCW was able to state it was from the same batch as the chemical allegedly used on the Skripals’ house.

Then there is the fascinating fact that it took eleven days of intensive searching for a vial of liquid in a small modern home, for the police to find the perfume bottle sitting on the kitchen counter.

Nobody has been charged with the manslaughter or murder of Dawn Sturgess. There is still an international arrest warrant out for Boshirov and Petrov for the attack on the Skripals. Very interestingly indeed, this warrant has never been changed into the names of Chepiga and Mishkin.

From the moment I heard of the attack on Dawn Sturgess, I worried that she – a person down on her luck and living in a hostel – was exactly the kind of person the powerful and wealthy would view as a disposable human being if her death fitted their narrative. The denial of an inquest for her, and the complete lack of interest by the mainstream media in the obvious nonsense of the official story that ties her to the Skripal poisoning, tends to confirm these fears. What Dawn Sturgess’ death tells us, beyond doubt, is that the government narrative is fake and the Skripal and Sturgess cases are two separate incidents. Which makes a local origin of the chemical very much more likely. No wonder the government is determined to avoid the inquest.

I was struck today that the tame neo-con warmongering “Chemical weapons expert” Hamish De Bretton Gordon, former head of the British Army’s chemical weapons unit, appeared on Sky News. He was being interviewed on use of white phosphorous by Turkey in Syria and repeatedly tried to deflect the narrative on to alleged chemical weapons use by Syrian government forces, arguing that the present crisis was the moral responsibility of those who opposed western military action against Assad. But what particularly struck me was that he appeared by Skype – from Salisbury. When you look at the British government’s own chemical weapons expertise, you are continually led back to Salisbury, perhaps not surprisingly given the location of Porton Down.

I am aiming to make a full documentary film on the Salisbury events entitled “Truth and the Skripals”, based around the questions raised on this blog. I shall be looking to launch crowdfunding for the documentary shortly, probably within the week.

Congratulations to Rob Slane and to John Helmer for their excellent work in following this.


About the Skripal incident

This is how modern western governments keep secrets: buried under a bodyguard of lies, so that it requires months of investigation to uncover the truth – by which time the public has absorbed the lies and lost interest in the story. Oddly, learning that about government lies are of little interest to journalists and the public.

From the beginning, Murray has documented the increasingly bizarre claims about this Skripal story. Many of his points are telling – obviously true – but ignored by the major news media. See the official story described uncritically at the Wikipedia entries here and here. See Murray’s articles blowing that story apart.

Craig Murray

About the author

Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He joined the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1984. His career culminated as British Ambassador to Uzbekistan 2002 to 2004. It ended when he criticized regime as repressive and using torture (both the American and British governments freaked out). Afterwards he was Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010. In 2016 the US government refused to allow him entry to the US.

See his articles at his websiteSee his bio. See his Wikipedia entry – he has led an extraordinary life. One of Murray’s most interesting books is Sikunder Burnes: Master of the Great Game. From the publisher…

“This is an astonishing true tale of espionage, journeys in disguise, secret messages, double agents, assassinations and sexual intrigue. Alexander Burnes was one of the most accomplished spies Britain ever produced and the main antagonist of the Great Game as Britain strove with Russia for control of Central Asia and the routes to the Raj.”

For More Information

Ideas! For some shopping ideas, see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

Please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information see all posts about fighting propaganda, and especially these about lies by our leaders…

  1. Important: Our leaders so often lie, but we still believe them – The Big List of Lies.
  2. Why we believe lies: A picture of America, showing a path to political reform.
  3. Our leaders have made a discovery of the sort that changes the destiny of nations.
  4. Our minds are addled, the result of skillful and expensive propaganda.
  5. Amnesia and anger: one is the problem, the other the cure.
  6. Government officials’ lies erode the Republic’s foundation. Do we care?
  7. Important advice: Learning skepticism, an essential skill for citizenship in 21st century America. – “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.”
  8. Revelations continue to shatter our dreams. Embrace them!
  9. How they use pretty graphics in the news to fool us.
  10. Commemorate 9-11 by seeing the truth.

Propaganda rules America! Read all about it!

Propaganda by Edward Bernays (1936). “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”

Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda by Noam Chomsky (2002). “Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.”

"Propaganda" by Edward Bernays.
Available at Amazon.
"Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda" by Noam Chomsky.
Available at Amazon.


13 thoughts on “Dawn Sturgess – a victim & tool of cold war propaganda”

  1. The argument seems to be that the bottle was fully packaged, and was not a gel, therefore cannot have been the source of the substance sprayed on the door handle.

    So far so good. There is then a hidden premise: that the operatives did not bring more than one supply and form of the poison with them.

    If this is true, then its clear they cannot have been the source of the door handle poison. If its true, they didn’t have any gel with them.

    But how do we know that they did not bring several containers of the substance, in different packagings, with a view to using whichever was the most appropriate?

    An alternative possibility is that they brought at least two sorts, one gel, one perfume bottle packed, used the gel when they found the door handle to be the best method, and threw away the perfume bottle once they had carried out the attack.

    I have no idea what happened, but its clear that this step in the argument isn’t convincing. It requires an assumption which is in itself unlikely, and for which no evidence is produced.

    The above doesn’t show the official account is correct. There are still questions about the discovery and provenance of the perfume bottle.

    But it does show that the counter argument, on this specific point, has a big hole in it, and the complete lack of logic in its use casts doubt on the credibility of the rest of it.

    1. Henrik,

      “But it does show …”

      … why government officials have successfully lied so often for so long. Their lies are often poorly constructed, even sloppy. But their pleasant peasants will carefully examine critics. If there are 100 points puncturing the lies, they will find one for which they can construct a rebuttal – then scream “Gottcha, the government story might be correct.” It’s pitiful. No wonder they have contempt for us.

      1. But, Larry, you have not answered the point. The specific argument, to be valid, requires that there is no chance that the perpetrators brought the material in two or more forms.

        But it is not only possible, it is likely that they would have.

        As I say, this does not show that the official account is correct. Far from it. That would be a step much too far. But it does show that this particular argument is illegitimate and should not be used.

        The argument is: the perfume bottle was sealed and unopened. Therefore it cannot have been the source of the doorknob contamination.

        Yes, this is correct. It does show that.

        But this has no bearing on whether the alleged perps brought it into the country, or whether the alleged perps used some other material they had also brought to apply the poison to the doorknob.

        A judicious skepticism is in order when considering all claims made by anyone on a matter like this, but drawing conclusions which do not follow from unsupported and implausible premises does not help us assess things correctly. It just confuses. If the case is strong, make it with valid arguments. What is there to lose?

        We should examine Murray’s arguments as carefully and as critically as we do those of the official account, and this particular one is a dog.

      2. To Henrik,

        In my opinion, identifying and proving one of the lies leads me to believe that there are many lies.
        The Met waited 8 days post “attack” to seek out the parents of the three boys.
        The Met showed Mr and Mrs Cooper the CCTV footage of the duck feed.
        The boys were taken to hospital, tested and their clothes incinerated.
        One of the boys actually ate some of the bread.

        It is impossible for this event to be true and the version of door handle dosing also to be true.
        As the duck feed did happen because the Met shared the CCTV footage, then the door handle dosing did not happen.
        As the authorities also reversed the Zizzi/Mill Pub timeline, then that also was done for a reason.
        Something happened at the Mill Pub, or shortly after the Skripals left the place on their way to the park bench.
        It is also inconceivable that a 66 year old diabetic and his fitter daughter, 30 years younger, would simultaneously collapse having been “dosed” some 3 hours earlier.

        Novichok being the deadly nerve agent that it is.

        One lie = many lies

    2. It is unlikely that they would carry more than they have to. Carrying two or more bottles just increases their chances of getting caught.

  2. The duck feed, the need for HMG requiring the Mill Pub to NOT be the last Skripal venue on Sunday March 4th.
    Novichok on a door handle, which somehow moved onto the roof beams, Rowley immediately treated with Duodote by a lead paramedic,
    No CCTV released of the Skripals, no footage of the assassins near Skripals home.

    Where to begin?

    1. Duncan,

      The big lesson is that this poorly constructed narrative has worked almost perfectly. Our leaders no longer need to lie skillfully. Like pleasant peasants, we believe what we’re told.

      The implications are obvious and disturbing.

  3. Pingback: Dawn Sturgess - Uma Vítima E Ferramenta De Propaganda Da Guerra Fria – Brasil No Caos

  4. From the moment I heard of the attack on Dawn Sturgess I worried that she – a person down on her luck and living in a hostel – was exactly the kind of person the powerful and wealthy would view as a disposable human being if her death fitted their narrative. The denial of an inquest for her, and the complete lack of interest by the mainstream media in the obvious nonsense of the official story that ties her to the Skripal poisoning, tends to confirm these fears.

    These statements reflect Murray’s own biases. By the time Sturgess was taken ill, nearly four months after the Skripals, the Skripal narrative was not only complete but was old news. There was no need for “the powerful and wealthy” to find and kill a “disposable human being”.

    Clearly we have not been told the whole of the Skripal story; but while Craig Murray’s articles point out the inconsistencies of the official story, he can only speculate about what actually happened – he has been “out of the loop” for a number of years. If he has something useful to say about the case, it is from his knowledge of tradecraft/SOP.

    1. James,

      I’m impressed with your willingness to believe our government. No matter how many times they lie to you, you hold those that critique the official narrative to far higher standards than those that lie to you.

      You are a model subject of the new regime being constructed.

      1. Larry,

        I’ve read my comment again, and I cannot see anything that suggests I believe the government. The official story is not consistent, but Craig Murray has no more idea what really happened than you or I.

        I read Craig Murray’s blog from time to time, but the nuggets of useful information are accompanied by a large amount of speculation.

        The Manchester Arena bombing of May 2017 provides a more damning insight into Deep State corruption than what we know about the Skripal case. The bomber, Salman Abedi, and his entire family, were Islamist radicals and also MI6 assets, who were brought to Britain so that they could be sent back to Libya when the time came for regime change. The bomber’s parents and brother obliged; Salman Abedi decided he’d rather blow himself up in Britain than in Libya. The inquest into the deaths of his victims has been replaced by a public inquiry, so that the damning evidence can be heard in private.


        MI6 cynically treats third-world countries as a playground for committing murder and mayhem, if they believe it is in the British interest. The Abedi case shows that it treats British territory and people with the same contempt.

  5. Reasons to believe it was not Novichok

    (Or as Belligcat might say: Conclusive Open Sourced Evidence Proving 100% that this was not a Nerve Agent)

    1) It didn’t kill it’s targets in Salisbury, we are told it is 8 to 10 times more toxic than VX (which is extremely potent and can kill in seconds), we are told 1 teaspoon full of Novichok could kill thousands of people but it didn’t kill Sergei or Yulia, it didn’t kill Bailey nor Charlie Rowley who had several doses of it. Charlie spilt it on himself, he sniffed at it to see what it smelt like (it had no odour) and he breathed it in again when Dawn sprayed it.

    The kill rate was 20% which coincidently was precisely the kill rate of the Opiate Based Incapacitant (Not Nerve Agent) used in the Moscow Theatre Siege: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moscow_theater_hostage_crisis

    The available evidence suggests that the people found poisoned at the bench were not the Skripals but had been harmed by an Opiate Based Incapacitant.

    The available evidence also suggests that Dawn died from anaphylaxis, an extreme allergic reaction to the substance she came into contact with. Charlie had an immense tolerance to Opioids earned from many years of extensive drug abuse, his onset of symptoms might be explained by a dose of the methadone that he had picked up from the chemist after Dawn had been taken to hospital, the combined doses from the substance in the perfume bottle and his prescribed methadone may have been enough to send him into OD.

    2) DSTL (MoD) Porton Down provided evidence to the High Court that said that they were not sure it was a Nerve Agent, it could have been a “Related Compound” or a “closely related agent”

    The Judge’s summary of the DSTL evidence


    I consider the following to be the relevant parts of the evidence. I shall identify the witnesses only by their role and shall summarise the essential elements of their evidence.

    i)CC: Porton Down Chemical and Biological Analyst

    Blood samples from Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal were analysed and the findings indicated exposure to a nerve agent or related compound. The samples tested positive for the presence of a Novichok class nerve agent or closely related agent.”


    3) Public Health England (PHE) Porton Down concurred with DSTL when they described the functional properties of the substance discovered in Salisbury and Amesbury, its effects on human beings were not those of a Military Grade Nerve Agent, in fact the substance described by PHE was completely useless as a Military Grade Nerve Agent, PHE said it was designed by function to only take effect after a minimum of 3 hours (when in contact with a large dose) and up to 12 hours maximum (from a significant dose)

    This information was communicated to a Public meeting in Amesbury by a Director of PHE and later confirmed in a Freedom of Information Request

    “If you become ill with this stuff (Novichok) from actually coming into contact with a significant amount of it then its within 6-12 hours, maximum (that symptoms would occur) – 3 hours is the minimum but you have to be in touch with a large dose.”

    Public Health England Medical Director Paul Cosford


    4) The OPCW and UK Parliament advice on the time for symptoms to appear when contact is made with a Nerve Agent is 20 – 30 minutes

    “Poisoning takes longer when the nerve agent enters the body through the skin. Nerve agents are more or less fat-soluble and can penetrate the outer layers of the skin. However, it takes some time before the poison reaches the deeper blood vessels. Consequently, the first symptoms do not occur until 20-30 minutes after the initial exposure but subsequently the poisoning process may be rapid if the total dose of nerve agent is high. The toxic effect of nerve agents depends on them becoming bound to an enzyme, acetylcholinesterase, and thereby inhibit this vital enzyme’s normal biological activity in the cholinergic nervous system.”

    UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

    “Nerve agents include tabun, sarin, soman and the more potent VX. These agents interfere with normal nerve function and are lethal at low concentrations. They can be absorbed both as a liquid through the skin, which can be lethal within 20-30 minutes, or as a vapour through the lungs, where death may occur more quickly. Preventative medicine is available and, as it is most effective 2 hours after treatment, is most useful where there is warning of an attack. Antidotes are also available but these must be administered immediately following exposure.”

    PHE’s advice for the time it takes Novichok to present symptoms is based, they say, on observations of the injuries caused to the victims in Salisbury and Amesbury
    The time it took for symptoms to present in the Wiltshire Incidents
    The Skripals: 2.5 hours (simultaneously)
    DS Bailey: 3 days
    Dawn Sturgess: 15 minutes
    Charlie Rowley: 8+ hours
    Only Charlie Rowley’s clinical reaction time conforms with PHE’s advice and PHE say they based their advice on observations of the Salisbury and Amesbury Incidents.

    They don’t know what it is yet they call it Novichok but it does not behave like a Nerve Agent.
    They say it can only have come from Russia yet provide no proof.
    And a Coroner may now not get to examine this evidence because the process may be taken over by a politically motivated Public Inquiry a la Hutton Cover Up
    We get what we vote for.
    God Bless Dawn

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