Friday, December 01, 2006

The Litvinenko poisoning puzzle

The answers to the Litvinenko poisoning puzzle are falling into place nicely, despite the efforts of the British police to muddy the waters:

  1. All the people who met with Litvinenko on the day of his poisoning were associated with anti-Putin forces, and most, if not all, with wanted criminal fugitive Boris Berezovsky.
  2. Mario Scaramella, the fellow who met with Litvinenko at the sushi restaurant (in fact, initiated the contact on what may have been a ruse, suggested the meeting, and picked the restaurant), didn’t eat, but just watched Litvinenko eat.  He has a dodgy resume, but claims to be an expert on nuclear materials.
  3. The Russians have been trying to extradite Boris Berezovsky for years, without success.  They have just signed a new agreement with the British which may make extradition requests procedurally easier, something which may have made the oligarchs nervous. Extradition was always technically possible, but was rejected by British courts on the basis that defendants would not get a fair trial in Russia.  Suddenly, a wrench is thrown into the works of British-Russian relations.  A nuclear attack on British soil!  Extradition to Russia suddenly becomes much more difficult.
  4. Polonium was detected at the offices of Boris Berezovsky, and at the offices of Erinys, one of the mercenary companies used by the Bush Administration in Iraq.  The connection is that Neil Bush is a business partner of Boris Berezovsky.  Now the FBI is involved, so the cover-up is getting serious!
  5. After finding traces of polonium at places where they shouldn’t have looked, the police confused the issue by searching planes, and basically determined that planes flying all over Europe had had this stuff on board.  Therefore, they proved nothing, and unnecessarily alarmed the British public.
  6. Litvinenko had been making wild allegations about Putin for years, and was ignored as another crank.  Boris Berezovsky was actively looking for another writer to pen another book of anti-Putin slurs.  Such a book will certainly sell now!  As I’ve already said, Putin had no reason to care about this guy, and certainly no reason to kill him in a way to give any credibility to his allegations.  The entire PR campaign, including all the allegations, has been run by Boris Berezovsky’s usual advertising agency, called in by Berezovsky to turn an unknown incident into a cause célèbre.  Even the original Thallium-spouting toxicologist was hired by Boris!

You have to remember the context of the fight between Putin and Boris Berezovsky.  A group of crooks arranged for Yeltsin to run Russia, and then Yeltsin looked the other way while the oligarchs robbed the country blind.  It was the single largest theft in the history of crime.  A large part of Putin’s popularity in Russia is based on the fact that he is perceived as standing up for Russia and the Russian people, something almost unheard of in the last thousand years of Russian history.  A major part of his reputation is based on his attempts to jail the crooks and recover the stolen assets.  Putin has one of the main oligarchs, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, in jail, but has been thwarted in his attempts to capture most of them due to the fact that most of them are claiming to be Jews and are hiding in Israel under Israeli protection (part of the habitual Israeli mockery of international law is that it usually won’t extradite Jews, or very rich people who claim to be Jews, which is part of the reason it is such an international organized crime haven).  Boris Berezovsky has been sheltered by the British.  It is only the oligarchs who have the criminal history, as well as the motive, means and opportunity, to commit this crime.

I note that the Israeli angle to the case is pure DEBKA disinformation intended to cast more slurs on Putin’s righteous recapturing of the oligarch-stolen assets of Yukos (ask yourself, why would DEBKA point a finger towards Israel?).  This Cold War nonsenseCryptome, which usually has exemplary instincts, has been publishing a lot of crap lately! – is going to be the subject of a lawsuit by the defamed Romano Prodi.  Finally, the idea that the murder had to do with upcoming revelations about Putin involvement in a dirty war against the Chechens is the height of nonsense.  The Russians, who are more hip to conspiracy theory than those decadent progressives in the decadent West (largely because the long-suffering Russian people don’t have the luxury of ignoring the truth because it doesn’t match the color of their political drapes), know all about that stuff, including the idea that the Russian government blew up buildings in Moscow in order to help Putin get elected.  Revelations about Putin’s dirty tricks would increase Putin’s popularity in Russia.

I doubt that his crime will ever be solved.  The Labour Party, which is in the middle of a scandal involving selling House of Lords seats to rich people for cash loans, is bankrupt (due to the hilarious fact that some of the rich guys, one of whom got arrested rather than a peerage, want their money back!), and presumably can be bought at record low prices.  The British police are following the usual corrupt practice of barking up the wrong tree.  The one thing the oligarchs have a lot of, due to their raping of the Russian people, is cash.