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    Latest Novichok poisoning in Wiltshire, UK 
    #1
    Bluelighter F.U.B.A.R.'s Avatar
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    One dead, another not expected to survive having presumably been in direct contact with a container (not yet found) used to transfer the substance that poisoned the Skripals.

    https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.t...days-live/amp/

    This is getting very sinister now...
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    #2
    When I first heard of this, my first thought was to the words of a post on the original novichok thread. About how they didn't care because it was just spys killing spys etc etc. Defending his kind of behavior. Who could have thought that using the most lethal chemical weapons ever developed around the public could pose a threat to bystanders.
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    #3
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    What's pertinent to this site is that the affected couple were known drug users. Who on here could honestly say that if they found a carelessly discarded, interesting container on the ground, they wouldn't investigate in the hope of finding some gear? I know I would. Just opening it would be enough to contaminate them. I bet they both handled, it smelt it, they even might have tasted it. The question is, where the hell is that object now? How many more people are going to be affected?
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by F.U.B.A.R. View Post
    What's pertinent to this site is that the affected couple were known drug users. Who on here could honestly say that if they found a carelessly discarded, interesting container on the ground, they wouldn't investigate in the hope of finding some gear? I know I would. Just opening it would be enough to contaminate them. I bet they both handled, it smelt it, they even might have tasted it. The question is, where the hell is that object now? How many more people are going to be affected?
    Yeah I had the same thought. It's weird though. I wouldn't think they'd (the assassins) just throw it away. And if they did, you'd think that once these people were exposed it should be easy to find, given that any exposure like that should affect them extremely quickly. Presumably there's more we don't know that explains it. But as it stands it seems quite strange.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JessFR View Post
    Yeah I had the same thought. It's weird though. I wouldn't think they'd (the assassins) just throw it away. And if they did, you'd think that once these people were exposed it should be easy to find, given that any exposure like that should affect them extremely quickly. Presumably there's more we don't know that explains it. But as it stands it seems quite strange.
    I know, it seems a little amateurish doesn't it? But whoever the would be assassin's were, they'd want to get rid of that shit as quickly as possible without any thought for safe disposal - especially considering that they themselves are probably 'disposable' anyway.
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    #6
    It was 100% definitely orders from Vladimir Putin because they used Novichok.

    And he was getting too much positive publicity from the World Cup.

    Strong motive is strong.
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    #7
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    Well Putin and Duterte do have one good friend in common, who loves the former and doesn't care about drug addicts. Conspiracy theories have been built on less...

    And people associated with espionage or their neighbors can be drug addicts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by F.U.B.A.R. View Post
    What's pertinent to this site is that the affected couple were known drug users. Who on here could honestly say that if they found a carelessly discarded, interesting container on the ground, they wouldn't investigate in the hope of finding some gear? I know I would. Just opening it would be enough to contaminate them. I bet they both handled, it smelt it, they even might have tasted it. The question is, where the hell is that object now? How many more people are going to be affected?
    Makes me wonder if it could be a fent analogue.
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    #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tranced View Post
    Makes me wonder if it could be a fent analogue.
    I considered that at first, but it's been confirmed to be Novichok hasn't it?
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    #10
    It has, and it would be waaaay too unreliable to poison someone with an opioid given how effectively it can usually be treated if caught earlier.
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    #11
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    Just heard it announced that the container of Novichok has been found in the house of the guy that's still in hospital, the one who's girlfriend died from it.

    https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/news....house-11436143

    This story is increasingly sounding like a novel! What puzzles me, is that surely the house would be the first place to be searched? Why has it taken so long to find it??

    Time to call 007...
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    #12
    FUBAR-yes, it has been, comfirmed as being A-234 from reports I dug up a little earlier, the same stuff they used to try and knock off the Skripals. Victims in this case almost certainly were not deliberately targeted, but happened to be in just about the shittiest place at the worst possible time.

    I would not like to be either of those survivors (Sergei skripal and the dead woman's partner.) Even the milder end of anticholinesterase poisoning is fucking awful. You can barely walk a few meters to piss, without feeling as if your entire body had turned to razor sharp gravel inside, I've never been run over by a tank, obviously, but I've a distinct feeling I know what it would be like. Wasn't a military agent that got me, closest thing I could compare it to is being bitten by a widow spider (Latrodectus spp.), slightly different mechanism, uncontrolled release of acetylcholine, with alpha-latrotoxin from spider venom, rather than preventing ACh from breaking down as the nerve agents do, but the two don't feel much different in my experience, and either are fucking nasty experiences. Just imagine constantly needing to piss and shit, while every part of your musculature goes into spasm, sweating bullets, and wondering each time if your going to reach the bog in the dry-heave stage, or if you are going to hit the deck and puke all over the floor instead, as you painfully, just about manage to drag your ass out of bed every damnable time.

    Got to suck to be hit with the bastard child of the V agents and phosgene oxime instead...
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    #13
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    Wonder if the container was labelled 'A-234' and those dumbfucks thought it was a novel synthetic cannabinoid? Stranger things have happened (are happening...)
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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by F.U.B.A.R. View Post
    Wonder if the container was labelled 'A-234' and those dumbfucks thought it was a novel synthetic cannabinoid? Stranger things have happened (are happening...)
    Stranger things have happened, but I still doubt it.

    If for no other reason, if they had intentionally ingested it form the source they should definitely be dead much faster.

    Though, that's something I've wondered. For a fancy new worst of the worst chemical weapon, it really seems like it's done a pretty poor job at successfully killing people. Gotta wonder if there's some chemist in Russia out of a job.
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    #15
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    Here's the latest: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/15/w...T.nav=top-news

    Quote Originally Posted by JessFR
    if they had intentionally ingested it form the source they should definitely be dead much faster.

    The article says as much
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    #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JessFR View Post
    Stranger things have happened, but I still doubt it.

    If for no other reason, if they had intentionally ingested it form the source they should definitely be dead much faster.

    Though, that's something I've wondered. For a fancy new worst of the worst chemical weapon, it really seems like it's done a pretty poor job at successfully killing people. Gotta wonder if there's some chemist in Russia out of a job.
    Yeh, I wasn't actually being serious

    But so many questions. Why aren't the Skripols dead? How did the dead woman's boyfriend obtain the contaminated container? Why wasn't it found much sooner as surely their houses would have been the first places searched, before cordoning off places they'd visited? Was he or she involved in the poisoning of the Skripols for drug money having been approached by some dude with a funny accent? Can't wait for the next chapter...
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    #17
    One is dead, of the secondary off-target poisoning, and if the killers had any sense, they knew they were carrying something nasty as hell thats likely to leave them perma-fucked if they are exposed, it stands to reason they ditch it and GTFO. Asshats for doing so, but then again, they weren't too likely to be model citizens in the first place, what with the being assassins and all.

    Would you want to transport a nerve agent designed to defeat oxime treatment that makes soman's rapid aging look like baby food? That, IIRC was the original mindset behind the FOLIANT program, development of couter-NBC kit capable agents, and ones which don't easily show up with standard sniffers.

    I'm confident enough in ability to handle some fairly nasty chemical customers, but I prefer to stay away from things likely to shaft you and leave you as plant life.

    One has to wonder how that phosgene oxime-like motif, depending on the structures for the novichok agents you go by, impacts its capacity to actually, functionally meet up with and bind to acetylcholinesterase, before it crosslinks with some other reactive protein target, more of a curiosity, given the reported effect of skin contact with A-238, a solid, or at least, which can be deployed in a solid state, of a russki chemist involved in the development, who seems to think Mirzayanov is talking out of his arse, and related what sounds like a real shit bricks moment where he accidentally came in direct skin contact, and it caused a chemical burn, but as he spotted it immediately and could wash it off, he got off with what sounds like just a chemical burn and more than likely a rather high bill for his dry cleaning (damn...and I thought nearly getting melted was bad, something I can see comedy value in, but only because it DIDN'T end up with everything from the waist down charred to smoking carbon and toxic wastes, more in a sense of 'learning curve' and in a more relative sense to the russian bugger. I can sympathize with 'really bad day' moments like that, even if it is with a shit out to design the next generation of nerve agents, I had a flask break once and come within moments of dousing me in a mixture of 98% sulfuric acid/dichromate solution and chromyl chloride, about a liter of it, doing a distillation to recover the CrO2Cl2, when the flask broke and one half separated from the other, bottom dropped out, no harm done, aside from to the flask and to the area at ground zero of the impact, bench top charred to carbon like a piece of burnt toast, and fuming off nasty corrosive things that nobody has any business getting dropped near their balls, had to literally cut the area out with a hacksaw and patch in a new layer of bench top, process the waste to recover as much of the toxic hexavalent Cr salts left behind, after clearing the hell out of there and more or less leaving it to fume out the window. I know that 'oh SHIT' feeling all too well after that one, funny now, being able to think 'hey, not so bad as it might have been' but sure as shit wasn't at the time. And at about 125-130 'C too. Couldn't get close, until much of the CrO2Cl2 had hydrolyzed, thankfully its moisture sensitive, I can't imagine quite that high a level of 'oh SHIT' as seeing a phosgene oxime-like burn inflicted from your next-generation nerve agent on your hand..damn.)

    That couple could have got it anywhere, dumpster-diving, apparently they were in the habit of fixing things up to sell.

    Wrong place, wrong time, it looks like. Poor bastards can't have expected people to be tossing out surplus to requirements nerve agent containers in the trash.
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    #18
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    Agree. Watching news coverage of this right now. If I had a container of a toxic nerve agent I'd rather discard the empty container quickly rather than carefully.
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    #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Limpet_Chicken View Post
    FUBAR-yes, it has been, comfirmed as being A-234 from reports I dug up a little earlier, the same stuff they used to try and knock off the Skripals. Victims in this case almost certainly were not deliberately targeted, but happened to be in just about the shittiest place at the worst possible time.

    Got to suck to be hit with the bastard child of the V agents and phosgene oxime instead...
    Quote Originally Posted by Limpet_Chicken View Post
    Got to suck to be hit with the bastard child of the V agents and phosgene oxime instead...
    A-234 is not related to either V agents or formaldoxime. It is a simple molecule that is more closely related to the Schraders G agent Tabun than anything else, Tabun being a complete outlier in that it is an organonophosphate rather than an organophosphonate but still highly toxic Schrader made lots of analogs and none were as toxic as Tabun. Hardly suprising it turns out that it isn't a very good war gas, for those who have read it, pretty much the whole of Miryanovs book is bullshit.
    The Soviets knew which of the agents were hypertoxic and useful war gases A-234 is not one of them. This logically suggests that whoever made A-234 did not know its lack of rapid toxicity in man and the slow skin penetration, so that rules out anyone who had access to the the Soviet research. There is no way the Soviets would stockpile A-234 or any of the organofluorophosphates, it requires a highly suspicious precursors, which not explicitly CWC controlled any alkylfluorophosphate is going to raise eyebrows, there are no commercial pesticides with the fluorophosphate group to give cover. The identity of the real Foliant series isn't too hard to figure out if you have read the Soviet literature.
    Quo Bono: There are samples of A-234 at Porton Down, they made it in the mid 1990's it isn't declarable under the CWC so it is much less controlled. The similarities with this and the 2001 Anthrax Fort Detrick farce are striking, Where they secretly manufactured weapons grade anthrax in an industrial park in the Southern USA, to see if anyone noticed, nobody did. They then lost track of some or all of it, then it appears in the mail to Congressmen shortly after attacks with anthrax biosimulant failed to get any attention, however they fucked up by milling it USA Fort Detrick style rather than Soviet or Iraqi style, a big screw up if the cover story was Islamist terrorists or Iraq were responsible. Who would have access to biosimulant and US style weapons grade anthrax?

    USAMRID gets billions of extra dollars
    Porton Down which is a decaying shit hole gets millions of english pounds
    Last edited by novaveritas; 16-07-2018 at 15:19.
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    #20
    I was speaking somewhat loosely. And referring to A-238 in particular there, the cross-linking motif and the solid nature (or was that A-239? have heard it said of both that these can take solid form), and ability to chew through skin and inflict direct chemical burns, and the patten of the O-N=C(Cl,F) motif, compare the structure with phosgene oxime, HO-N=C(Cl2), its just changing the halogens, and bonding of the rest of the novichok agent substitution structure, with the oxime group, no longer N-OH but C=N-OR where R=the rest of whichever the backbone of the given nerve agent's remaining structure, featuring the P-O single bond.

    How does that NOT look like phosgene oxime on that end? its close enough that I expected the corrosive nature, capacity to cause skin burns, and actually had read of the solid compound coming into contact with one of the chemists' hands, and inflicting a burn, although he got lucky as that was the least of it, with him washing it off straight away, and with its being the solid rather than liquid derivative, the prompt, immediate response combined with its being a solid together, were his given reason for surviving, without systemic anticholinesterase type toxicity, only dermal burns. Which itself, is rather in keeping with phosgene oxime. That side group IS a lot like it. The 'bastard child' remark, was less about structural similarity to the organophosphate portion of VX, closer to the G agents IMO, without, than the V series, I was more inferring combination of highly potent nerve agent with a phosgene oxime-like group tacked on that wants to chew its way through flesh, like phosgene oxime.

    That part though, how does it NOT resemble it structurally? And the fact that one of the russki chemists actually speaks of such signs of exposure, without systemic toxicity from the anticholinesterase effects, speaks pretty strongly in support of the theory that that end of the molecule can indeed act in a similar manner. Most probably pretty effective in forming cross-links with other parts of AChE sterically close to the critical active site serine which is phosphorylated before typical nerve agents 'age' and become impervious to reactivation of AChE with Hagedorn oxime type treatment agents such as obidoxime, pralidoxime, and later improvements to such antidotes. It would make sense, for that phosgene oxime-lookalike group, once the active site serine residue of AChE is phosphorylated by the leaving group on the organophosphorus 'core' part, to be able to act, if visualized, analogously to say, a scorpion both holding on to a prey item with its claws, whilst swinging that functionalized 'tail' to deliver a 'sting' (and crosslink to other portions of the AChE enzyme sterically within range of the active site, no?

    And in respect of Schrader's work, do you mean more specifically, on cyano-functionalized, closer to tabun analogs, as opposed to his work on organophosphorus nerve agents in general? I'm not familiar with tabun analogs, would be curious to read up on them if you have any suggested reading material, if its the latter though, and just organophosphorus anticholinesterases, he certainly made some that were more potent than tabun. Cyclosarin, soman would be good examples, cyclosarin being significantly more toxic than sarin itself, although much less volatile, more an area-denial, persistent agent like the V agents in terms of volatility, than sarin itself, purely on a mechanical properties point of view, and of course soman is one of the nastiest, IMO of the G-series agents, due to the super-rapid aging, within ten minutes, compared to many hours, potentially for VX
    Last edited by Limpet_Chicken; 17-07-2018 at 15:08.
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