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I'm a bit surprised that this is the first topic on this subject!

 

The presumed poisoning of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko with Polonium 210 made the news item seem like James Bond, but now its expanded with traces of radioactivity found on at least 2 and maybe 3 BA planes. Link

 

Is it a case of collegues of Mr Litvinenko carrying contamination around the world after meeting him, or is this the trail of the assasins bringing their poisons to the UK? ... only time will tell, but it certainly makes for a news worthy story.

 

The deeper issue is the climate of political violence and intimidation of journalists and opposition voices in Russia. The assassination of a campaigning journalist, Anna Politkovskaya, seemed to start the current wave of deaths, then there was Litvinenko. And in the last day or so an ex Prime Minister of Russia Yegor Gaidar has collapsed in mysterious circumstances in Dublin.

 

Link

 

All deeply concerning!

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All deeply concerning!

Only if you're Russian ;)

 

Much ado media hype methinks. All this cocking about to just to top one guy? Why didn't they just run him over, throw him off a building - or buy him a Steam Packet Breakfast instead?

 

Though I'd be more worried if the Radiation was not from Polonium - when you start looking for one thing, you invariably find another :unsure: Knowing the way Blair operates I wouldn't be suprised by that announcement.

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Methinks there is much more to this than meets the eye.

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I agree this is the perfect story for the media to hype up ... but I don't think we should be unconcerned about Russia's political development.

 

That particular country has had the ability to cock up the world system in a big way and has tried to do it, by accident or design, more than a few times in the last couple of centuries.

 

With Czars, dictators and rouge billionaires its had and has quite an influence on the world. I'd rather if they weren't playing James Bond leaving radioactive poisons all over London and beyond!

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I find it perculiar that the UK welcomes the Russian billionaires, they didnt get to be that rich by being nice, honest or trustworthy, why would we want them in the UK? Sharks the lot of them.

As for the spy...well, fly with the crows you get shot down with them, he was no angel. His wife married him knowing what and who he was, they brought a child into the world knowing the possible consequences of his life style and now they are moaning for their safety after he has been killed...not rocket science is it?

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Public interest has very little to do with what appears as " news " this story probably has more to do with the coincidence of the new Bond movie than a public want to know. :(

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Well most governments have cleaners who do there dirty work so to speak.

 

This type of policy has gone on for centuries, Mr Bush has the same policy as the russians.

 

Truth is a dangerous thing for both sides.

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I think that if we even knew half of what goes on we would be very concerned.

 

The Russians tend to have a "we don't give a f**k who knows" attitute to assasination. Hundreds of people probably die each year in many countries, but it takes the Russkies to advertise the fact that if you f**k with them you die a long lingering death to push the message home.

 

People worry about Bush. He's and idiot. Its the Russians we should be scared of as they really don't care.

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Remember the umbrella (Georgie Markov, or similar) stabbing on Greyfriars bridge in London in the late 70's/early 80's (names may be wrong) where a tiny pellet laced with ricin was stabbed into the leg of an Eastern bloc dissident BBC employee? Very James Bond, but it really happened.

 

Remember also the poisoning of the Ukrainian premiere before the elections which fuelled the Orange Revolution, alledgedly because he wanted to align himself more with the EU than the FSU|?

 

Seems the former communist states have a long and illustrious history of knocking out opponents by poison.

 

There is also a noticeable trait in Russians that they do not trust their own; apparently this was a state of affairs even before the revolution. Perhaps there is good cause.

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I've just written to Juan Watterson - if Rushen's Pies are killing people then immediate action should be taken.

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Much ado media hype methinks. All this cocking about to just to top one guy? Why didn't they just run him over, throw him off a building - or buy him a Steam Packet Breakfast instead?

 

As Gladys says, the Russian intelligence services are particularly fond of poisoning, and they're not afraid of a little diplomatic fallout, provided nothing conclusively linking them to the crime can be proven. The point is that the victim was for a while one of their own, and the most natural fear of any intelligence services is a defector, especially one whose motives are as ideologically driven as the man who was poisoned. By assassinating using "signature" KGB techniques I think they were sending a clear and unambiguous message not necessary to dissenters, but other former and current agents who might be thinking of jumping ship.

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Much ado media hype methinks. All this cocking about to just to top one guy? Why didn't they just run him over, throw him off a building - or buy him a Steam Packet Breakfast instead?

 

As Gladys says, the Russian intelligence services are particularly fond of poisoning, and they're not afraid of a little diplomatic fallout, provided nothing conclusively linking them to the crime can be proven. The point is that the victim was for a while one of their own, and the most natural fear of any intelligence services is a defector, especially one whose motives are as ideologically driven as the man who was poisoned. By assassinating using "signature" KGB techniques I think they were sending a clear and unambiguous message not necessary to dissenters, but other former and current agents who might be thinking of jumping ship.

That is probably the case. But at the end of the day all this sort of story is doing, once again, is keeping a raft of important stuff off the UK news. There are political assassinations going on in the world pretty much every day. That reminds me where was Tony Blair on the day John Smith...

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I think the current wave of political violence in Russia is more than killing the chicken to scare the monkeys in the KGB.

 

The suspected poisoning of the ex-PM Yegor Gaidar, the attempted assassination of ex-Finance Minister Anatoly Chubais last year and the killing of the journalist Anna Politkovskaya seem to show a orcestrated campaign against reformers and campaigers.

 

The attack on Chubais wasn't the subtle use of poisons: Link

 

Prosecutors have indicted three former servicemen in connection with the attempted assassination of Russia's former privatization czar, Anatoly Chubais, officials said Monday.

 

The Prosecutor General's office said it had completed an investigation into the attack and filed formal charges against Vladimir Kvachkov, a retired military intelligence colonel, and former paratroopers Robert Yashin and Alexander Naidyonov.

 

Chubais, the head of the state-controlled Unified Energy Systems power grid, was ambushed on his way to work near his country home outside Moscow on March 17 by assailants who detonated a bomb and raked his armored car with automatic weapons fire. No one was hurt.

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I think the current wave of political violence in Russia is more than killing the chicken to scare the monkeys in the KGB.

 

The suspected poisoning of the ex-PM Yegor Gaidar, the attempted assassination of ex-Finance Minister Anatoly Chubais last year and the killing of the journalist Anna Politkovskaya seem to show a orcestrated campaign against reformers and campaigers.

 

Undoubtably, there is such a campaign, but Litvinenko was, if anything, the least visible within Russia of all those victims, being in virtual exile, and probably the less important (as a reformer and campaigner) of all those individuals, and yet his death is almost ostentasiously the work of the Russian Security services. As Albert says, they could have simply shot or stabbed him, and such work would no doubt be routine for certain sections of the Russian intelligence services. Instead they went to a conspicuous, even unnecessary amount of effort, with the potential for discovery and leaks in the plot occuring throughout the chain of events. After all, those who know they're at risk would have their suspicions, especially given so many other reformer's sudden demise, that the intelligence services were involved and so the message would have undoubtably gone through. Were Litvinenko merely a reformer and campaigner, he would have met the same or a similar death to Politkovskaya, anonymously shot dead in a manner that's suspicious, but untraceable. Litvinenko was instead killed in such a needlessly laborious fashion, and in such an idiosyncratic way as to verge on the personal (after all, Polonium and radiation is hardly subtle;) ). I don't doubt for a second that he would probably have been assassinated one way or another for his views, but his real value, and the real threat he posed was as an ex-member of the KGB.

 

Also, don't forget that the security services in Russia hold an inordinate amount of power, much more so than probably MI6 and the CIA have in the UK and USA respectively, to the point of being as much a part of the civil administration as an apparatus or tool of it. One of their own leaving the fold and turning against former allegiances is not only a betrayal for them, but also threatens their position - one which they've come accustomed to holding by all means possible. To them a journalist like Politkovskaya is a minor irritation at best, but Litvinenko and those like him, and most importantly those who may become like him, have walked paths the vast majority of people never see, and have a better grasp of the influence and power that their (former) colleagues hold, not to mention the techniques they employ to maintain their status.

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