D-notice banning media from reporting on Salisbury affair
A fuss in British media around the Salisbury affair is desappearing. Sir Mark Sedwill, the UK’s national security adviser, said that police and intelligence agencies failed so far to identify the individual or individuals who carried out the nerve agent attack in Salisbury. Asked by an MP at a Commons defence committee hearing if he knew the individuals responsible, he replied curtly: “Not yet.” However, Daily Mirror, The Sun, Sunday People and other media reported that British police and intelligence had identified a former Russian spy codenamed ‘Gordon’ as suspect in the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
Now the British media do not suggest theories as to what happened in Salisbury, but continue to claim that the UK is “vulnerable” to Russian attacks. The British media are criticized for the unfair treatment. There are still many people in the UK who are sceptical of Russian responsibility for Skripal poisoning.
Alex Thomsen, Channel 4 journalist, tweeted on March 12, 2018: “The only decisive public move by the authorities has been to censor MSM via a D Notice last week from identifying Mr Skripal’s handler living nearby...”
Clive Ponting, former senior civil servant at the Ministry of Defence, stressed: “It seems to me that the reason none of the MSM are doing any investigating/reporting of the Salisbury affair, apart from official handouts, is that the government have slapped a D-Notice over the whole incident and it is not possible to report that a notice has been issued.”
“I meant to add that the policeman who ‘just happened’ to be around was almost certainly the special branch ‘minder’ who was keeping Yulia under surveillance. The media are not allowed to mention the existence of a D notice,” Mr. Ponting said.
Commenting on Mr. Ponting’s quote, Craig Murray, former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan, pointed out: “Those of us who have been in the belly of the beast and have worked closely with the intelligence services, really do know what they and the British government are capable of. They are not “white knights”. I would add it has been very plain from day one that there is a D notice on Pablo Miller.”