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Monday, December 04, 2006

LRant on Litvinenko

Here's what we know.

Either Russian "President" Vladimir Putin ordered the killing in Britain of defector Alexander Litvinenko by the use of radiactive toxin that could harm many bystanders, in which case he's too evil to be legitimate, or he was so incompetent that not only did he fail to prevent the killing but he deceived us as to (a) the presence of "rogue elements" in his secret police and (b) the vulnerability of Russian nuclear assets -- in other words, too incompetent to be legitimate. Either he knew that dangerous radioactive material had "gone missing" from Russian stores and said nothing, exposing the world to massive dangers, in which case he's too evil to be legitimate, or he didn't know, in which case he's too incompetent. And either way, we know that the Russian people continue to favor him with nosebleed-high approval ratings, which is the ultimate outrage. La Russphobe's money is on the "evil" variant. If Putin were just incompetent, then he'd now be falling over himself to help track down the killers, just like the U.S. president in "Dr. Strangelove." But he isn't. His reaction to the killing of Anna Politkovskaya says it all: He called her an enemy of the state. Litvinenko was investigating her killing. La Russophobe begins to see precious little difference between bin Laden and Putin. The latter may be a bit more crazed, but the former, being more subtle and with easy access to nukes, may be more dangerous. This blog has been sounding a warning call since April, as so much of the world slumbered.

It's time to wake up.

And there's much to struggle against: On Sunday, the New York Times ran an article in which it attempted to minimize the Russian role in the killing. It claimed anybody could buy an off-the-shelf product on the Internet, scrape of the Polonium 210 it contained, and have a radioactive weapon (just an amazing coincidence, LR supposes, that nobody in the whole history of the world ever thought of doing this before). Buried deep in article, the second-to-last paragraph, was the admission: "Still, several experts held out the possibility that close examination of polonium 210 residues from Mr. Litvinenko’s body or from the multiple sites where it has been found around London might reveal nuclear fingerprints that could throw light on the baffling case." The
Times story had hardly gone to press when this "possiblity" was realized and the whole story proven to be airy claptrap. Given the fact that the Times always said the USSR was full of stout-hearted people victimized by a few bad leaders, people who, if only given the chance, would create a stunning socialist democracy, the Times had considerable egg on its face when Putin, a proud KGB spy, was chosen by the people in not one but two elections. Given that it then, to cover itself, told its readers Putin was a "necessary transitional strongman" needed to right Russia's sinking ship of state, one who should be tolerated as Russia moved towards democracy, it's understandable that the Times would scurry to continue misleading readers, misdirecting them from its complicity in the rise of dictatorship in Russia.

But it's not acceptable.

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