Skip to comments.From Russia, minus love
Posted on 11/24/2006 5:34:19 PM PST by A. Pole
IMAGINE you were a foreign power that wanted to get rid of a dissident who had set up home in London. Would you (a) push the troublemaker under a bus, (b) have him mown down by a hit-run driver, or (c) arrange for him to be poisoned while eating in a crowded restaurant?
If you wanted to make the death look natural, or just to keep things simple, you would presumably avoid the restaurant scenario. And yet, if many Russia-watchers are to be believed, the country's Federal Security Service (FSB) has carried out just such an assassination.
On November 1, Alexander Litvinenko, a 43-year-old Russian who used to work for the FSB the post-Soviet version of the KGB had breakfast with two Russian men, one a former KGB officer, at the Millennium hotel in Mayfair, then lunch at Itsu, a cheap and cheerful Japanese eatery in London, with an Italian defence consultant, Mario Scaramella. Litvinenko later claimed that Scaramella had shown him
a hit list featuring Litvinenko's name as well as that of murdered journalist Anna Politkovskaya.
By that evening, he was so ill he was taken to hospital. Doctors wasted 10 days trying to treat him for food poisoning. His condition deteriorated hair falling out, difficulty speaking, white blood cells disappearing, unable to eat, even nourishment from a drip causing him to vomit.
It wasn't until earlier this week, after listening to their patient's pleas, that doctors said they were investigating the possibility of poisoning. Initially they suspected thallium, a tasteless, odourless killer used in rat poison until it was banned in the 1970s. By Thursday, however, with Litvinenko's condition deteriorating rapidly, a hospital spokesman said the medical team had ruled out thallium but was still unclear about the cause of his condition. A friend said the former spy had suffered a cardiac arrest and was on an artificial heart support machine. Litvinenko died yesterday, at 8.21am Melbourne time.
Litvinenko's friends in London have been quick to accuse the Kremlin of being behind this poisoning. They say Russia wanted to stop Litvinenko investigating the assassination last month of another high-profile critic of the Russian Government his friend, the campaigning journalist Politkovskaya. They believe the Kremlin was also to blame for Politkovskaya being shot outside her Moscow apartment door.
Polonium-210 [the most recent diagnosis as per poison used] is available in the corner mom and pop stores, one presumes. Barbari sunt, barbarice egit. Not paricularly smart barbari, either.
For the conspiracy theorists: read the Possessed (or Devils) by Dostoevsky, you have such a clumsy murder (of Shatov) explained there.
This might be the real objective of this death. Do you think that Putin is really so stupid as to order something bizarre like that at the time of EU/Russia meeting?
If you wanted the death to be obviously contrived and horrible so as to act as a warning to others, you'd opt for the restaurant scenario. Possibly the author does not remember the "Cold" War. It was always this nasty.
I would presume that one who signs on with the KGB/FSB in the first place knows the way they play. Only in America are 'leakers' feted on the media and given book deals; in the rest of the world, well, Polonium happens.
Werent we led to believe Russia had gone through this amazing transformation to a gentler kinder totalitarinism?
Do you think Putin is innocent here?
I think that he is way too smart to do such thing.
Eh...a public assassination can be a tool of diplomacy if you're of a certain mindset. Per Machiavelli it's best to be loved, but if you can't be loved, then being feared also works.
Exactly. The author obviously doesn't understand the way Russian operatives operate. They'd slit your throat right in front of your Momma, and make polite conversation with her while doing it too.
Machiavelli would not recommend cowardly and idiotic methods. He warned that the worst for the ruler is to be despised.
Do you think that Kennedy gained much by trying to poison Castro?
You cannot argue with paranoiacs.
LOL - I can see that you remember. And after all, what's to stop them? Unless they're caught in the act it's a perfect crime. It is, of course, possible for a somebody to defect and confess publicly, but that's precisely what this sort of action deters. These guys have been playing this game for a very long time and they were always good at it.
Well, no. But if it had looked like an accident, then...well...it would have looked like an accident, if you know what I mean.
You could be right. The Russians could always play chess.
Hey! Who are you calling a paranoiac? Who have you be talking to?
Did my wife talk to you?!?
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