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KGB agent claims poisoning

  1. Nov 23, 2006 #1
    The ex-KGB detractor Litvinenko died today in London, a victim of a yet undetermined poison:


    This man had become a very vocal denouncer of other political assassinations; I guess his death is all the more ironic.
    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/wor...&en=7026a89b99471797&ei=5094&partner=homepage

    (Politkovskaya you recall, was the journalist brutally gunned down in her apartment the day before she was to release d*mning evidence of ongoing police torture in the Chechnya war. NYT)

    This is utter depravity. I wonder if we'll all fall back into the cold war.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 23, 2006 #2
    I don't know what the U.S. reaction will be, but here's what the State department called for last time (Politkovskaya):

    http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2006/73739.htm

    Yes, political assassins, investigate yourselves! (And NSA spices, police yourselves! Enron, regulate yourself! GWB, lead the investigation into the Katrina response! Political appointees in science, don't listen to the experts - advise yourselves! Medicare beneficiaries - heal yourselves! Corrupt senators of all colors and stripes - enact ethics bills for yourselves!)

    So go ahead, Mr. Putin - lead another investigation, the U.S. supports it. Lead on.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2006
  4. Nov 23, 2006 #3

    Ivan Seeking

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    Rach3, I agree that it looks pretty bad for Putin, but your title is a little over the edge. We don't know for a fact what happened.
     
  5. Nov 23, 2006 #4
    No we don't, and this is not a civil trial were one is innocent until proven otherwise. The corrupt Russian government has an incredible track record of assassination and political censorship; the most probable explanation here is the simplest one - Litvinenko was murdered, either by contract killers hired by the Kremlin, or powerful Putin sympathisers in a high position in politics or business. It is criminally dangerous to give Putin the benefit of doubt, when high-profile journalists and dissidents are being murdered for exposing corruption and crime, for having a voice and speaking the ugly truth. Public outrage, in countries with freedom of speech and thought (like ours), is the only justice the assassins will come to, because these people will never, I repeat never, stand trial in a legitimate court of law.
     
  6. Nov 23, 2006 #5
    Here, naivete is not assuming guilt on circumstatial evidence, naivete is assuming that political dissidents die of freak medical causes at an astonishingly high, but natural, rate. Naivete is assuming there is some semblance of rule of law in Russian government (there isn't (CIA)), and that the oligarchies will enforce justice for their opponents, and "investigate" these crimes (as Sean McCormack so idiotically suggests.) Naivete is defending the sham government which kills journalists, saying that they need to be put through their own courts of law and found guilty by themselves before any reasonable conclusions can be reached.


    (Additionally, naivete is spelled with one 't'. edited by a humbled Rach3)
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2006
  7. Nov 23, 2006 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    In my case, you're preaching to the choir.
     
  8. Nov 24, 2006 #7
    usually assassinations like these are politically heated since it reflects on the amount of tolerance in the polices of said countries and because of this, agencies like the CIA, KGB, or mossad require authorization from political or agency leaders. in this case i bet putin himself gave the nod.

    assassinations like these happen fairly often but not so much in a foreign country. the britsh should be upset about this if the SVR (formerly KGB) has the audacity to run around killing people in their capital.
     
  9. Nov 24, 2006 #8
    Where were you during the cold war? Everyone was assassinating dissidents left and right, and dissidents tend to be NOT in the country they're dissenting from. Another famous London assassination:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgi_Markov

    Of course, some moderators might hesitate in calling that a "murder", per se, I mean the guy might accidentally have drunk too much castor oil by mistake (who knows?). Change that thread's title to "Georgi Markov alleges he's been murdered" to reflect the uncertainty in that case, because, you know, Brezhnev was never convicted or anything.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2006
  10. Nov 24, 2006 #9
    Litvinenko murdered with radioactive Polonium-210

    Ivan - can you change the thread title back? A short "Russian dissident murdered" would suffice for now.

    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/wor...&en=25524eddddb1440d&ei=5094&partner=homepage
     
  11. Nov 24, 2006 #10
    what i ment was these things dont happen much in western countrys and in the last 10 years

    that happened almost 30 years ago and durring the cold war = P
     
  12. Nov 24, 2006 #11

    Astronuc

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    Po-210 is normally only found in special facilities and laboratories, and it is strictly controlled. Finding Po-210 in someone who is not directly involved in its production or use would be a strong indication that it was deliberately placed in that person - hence Litvinenko was murdered - by an organization with access to a very restricted material. It would seem to implicate Putin's government.
     
  13. Nov 24, 2006 #12

    selfAdjoint

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    Dearly Missed

    Latest story (via Slate) is that Scotland Yard is going to do a full investigation as an "unexplained death". This sounds good if they really mean it, that they're not jumping to conclusions. Looks to me that this crime (as I think of it) wasn't sufficiently covert, and there may be evidence enough to pin it on the perps.
     
  14. Nov 24, 2006 #13

    Ivan Seeking

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  15. Nov 24, 2006 #14
    i would be surprised if they would be able to get enough evidence together to actually make a conviction. it would be great to get a conviction in this case but short of that, what they could do is arrest other SVR operatives in the UK and make an announcement that "people thought to be associated with the russian foreign intelligence service are being questioned in connection with the suspected murder of russsian dissident and former defected KGB operative". it wouldn't be enough for putin to make any official complaints of injustice, but it would be some pie on his face none the less. it would be a way of telling everyone "we know exactly what happened here and we know who did it, even though we don't have proof".
     
  16. Nov 25, 2006 #15
    More from Litvinenko:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/25/w...5d8f366583c&hp&ex=1164517200&partner=homepage
     
  17. Nov 25, 2006 #16
    So whodunnit?

    "A Rare Material and a Surprising Weapon" (NYT)


    About the only plausible explanation at this point is the obvious one - the Putin administration alone had the ruthlessness (world superpower with a habit of assassinating), the motive (to silence a very loud dissenter in exile), and most tellingly, the means (large quantities of a short-halflife radioisotope with no commercial use, needing the neutron flux of a fission reactor to produce). But there are still interesting questions - like why were they stupid enough to use a poison only they have? Putin claims there's a conspiracy to discredit him, that his government is being framed for the crime. So the (rhetorical) question is, which of the world superpowers is responsible? 'Cause realistically, only a superpower has the means to do this.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/25/w...5d8f366583c&hp&ex=1164517200&partner=homepage


    edit: Same NYT article has a short summary of Litvinenko's political activity, on the second page (useful background, for those too lazy to leave this thread and do research):

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/25/w...5d8f366583c&hp&ex=1164517200&partner=homepage
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2006
  18. Nov 25, 2006 #17
    Anyone care to speculate on the British diplomatic reaction in the near future? (Methinks they'll sweep this under the table. Just like that "counterterrorism" murder in the subway of that innocent Brazilian guy, with Ian Blair going on television and spewing fabrications, his cover-up being exposed on the (delayed) release of a security tape (the one they said never existed). Terribly corrupt. :grumpy: )
     
  19. Nov 25, 2006 #18
  20. Nov 28, 2006 #19

    Astronuc

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    Sophistication behind spy's poisoning
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6190144.stm
    The plot thickens. Certainly anyone with access to a research reactor could produce Po-210 in sufficient quantities.
     
  21. Nov 28, 2006 #20

    Ivan Seeking

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    Who manages the polonium used to make the brushes?

    http://www.blackcatsystems.com/science/radprod.html

    Beware of old mechanics as well. :biggrin:
     
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