UPDATE, APRIL 5: In an emergency meeting of the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on Wednesday, called by Russia, Moscow’s motion that it should be involved in the investigation of the Salisbury nerve agent attack — the attempted assassination of a former spy and his daughter, in which Moscow is the prime suspect — was rejected by a 41-6 vote.

I carried out an additional nine interviews throughout Wednesday, eight of them with BBC radio outlets, to explain the OPCW’s role; the latest politics, information, and disinformation around the case, and what happens next:

Listen to BBC Three Counties

Listen to BBC Ulster

See also Russia and the Nerve Agent Attack: The Weight of Evidence

Russian State propaganda exploited a failure in the UK media on Tuesday, using the lapse to falsely indicate that the British Government had lied when it said Moscow was “culpable” in a March 4 nerve agent attack in southern England.

The episode began innocently with the head of Porton Down, the UK’s research facility for chemical weapons, saying that the attempted assasination of former spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia — threatening scores of other people in a Salisbury mall — had been identified as a Novichok-class agent, developed in the Soviet Union from the late 1970s.

Gary Aitkenhead then said that Porton Down had not identified the source of the agent — because their remit was just to establish the nerve agent used, not where it was produced. He explained that this was the responsibility of other Government agencies, i.e., intelligence services such as MI6 and GCHQ.

This clearly set out responsibility, much as a forensic pathologist only establishes cause of death, not who committed the murder.

Listen to Scott Lucas’s interview with BBC Radio Foyle

Listen to Scott Lucas’s interview with talkRADIO from 10:22 in 0630-0700 Segment

But Russian outlets — in their ongoing campaign to cause uncertainty and distance Moscow from any responsibility — quickly distorted Aitkenhead’s remarks. They claimed that the UK now had no idea of possible involvement by Russian officials, and that UK Prime Minister Theresa May had been misleading for indicating this in her statements to Parliament.

Leading British media fell into the trap. The Guardian headlined, “Porton Down Experts Unable to Verify Precise Source of Novichok”. It was only deep in the article that they carried the explanation from a Government spokesperson:

This is only one part of the intelligence picture….This includes our knowledge that within the last decade Russia has investigated ways of delivering nerve agents probably for assassination – and as part of this programme has produced and stockpiled small quantities of novichoks; Russia’s record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations; and our assessment that Russia views former intelligence officers as targets.

An example of the disinformation campaign of Russia State outlet RT, aided by the former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray:

And another, using polemicist Neil Clark: