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Friday, June 01, 2007

Neo-Soviet Russia Gone Utterly Amok

If this doesn't prove without a shred of doubt that we are looking at a neo-Soviet Union, nothing will. The Associated Press reports that the accused killer of Alexander Litvinenko, Andrei Lugovoi, is now accusing the British secret service of killing Litvinenko (and in so doing spreading toxic radioactive poison, which came from Russia, all around London). If the USSR were still in existence, this is exactly what we would have expected to occur.

The Russian businessman whom Britain has named as a suspect in the killing of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko said Thursday that he has evidence of British special services' involvement in the poisoning death. "Even if (British special services) hadn't done it itself, it was done under its control or connivance," Andrei Lugovoi told a news conference. Asked if he had evidence for the allegation, he said "I have evidence" but did not elaborate. A British government security official, who demanded anonymity in exchange for discussing Lugovoi's claims because of the sensitivity of the case, said suggestions British intelligence had involvement in Litvinenko's death were spurious.

Britain last week said it had enough evidence to charge Lugovoi, who also worked for the KGB and its main successor agency the FSB, in the November killing of Litvinenko. Litvinenko, who died of poisoning by the rare radioactive isotope polonium-210, had fled to Britain several years earlier after becoming a strong critic of the Kremlin and received British citizenship. Lugovoi and another Russian had met in London with Litvinenko on Nov. 1, the day Litvinenko said he became ill. Britain has requested Lugovoi's extradition, but Russia has refused, saying the constitution does not permit such extraditions. Lugovoi has repeatedly asserted he is innocent in the matter. On Thursday, Lugovoi also claimed that Britain had tried to recruit him to provide intelligence. British special services "asked me to collect compromising information on President (Vladimir) Putin," Lugovoi said.

Lugovoi said the attempted recruitment occurred during business trips to Britain in previous years. He did not give a precise date, but indicated the alleged approach occurred in late 2005 or early 2006. London's Foreign Office, responsible for the country's overseas secret intelligence service MI6, declined to comment on Lugovoi's claim. But another government official with knowledge of Lugovoi, who also demanded anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, said the allegations were untrue.

MSNBC has more:

Andrei Lugovoi, the Russian accused by the UK of murdering Alexander Litvinenko has claimed he has evidence that British intelligence was involved in the poisoning of the former KGB officer. Mr Lugovoi said he believed the UK intelligence services or Boris Berezovsky, the exiled Russian tycoon, were more likely suspects in Litvinenko's death last November than he was. In a dramatic 90-minute press conference in Moscow, Mr Lugovoi alleged that both Litvinenko and Mr Berezovsky worked for UK intelligence. He also said that British agents had tried to recruit him to collect compromising material on Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Mr Lugovoi's comments, carried live on Russian television, came after the UK said last week it had enough evidence to charge him with the murder of Litvinenko, who died last November of poisoning with radioactive polonium-210. British prosecutors handed over a dossier on the case to the Russian authorities last Monday. "I would like to make an announcement which should shed some light on this murky political story, in which the main roles were played by British secret services and their agents Berezovsky and the late Litvinenko," Mr Lugovoi said. Mr. Berezovsky denied any involvement in the Litvinenko murder and said that Mr Lugovoi "was acting on Kremlin instruction". "Following Andrei Lugovoy's press conference in Moscow this morning, it is now clearer than ever that the Kremlin is behind the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. Everything about Mr Lugovoy's words and presentation made it obvious that he is acting on Kremlin instruction." "The UK authorities know very well who their MI6 agents are in the UK and so they know that I am not one of them."

The British Foreign Office declined comment on Mr Lugovoi's allegations, but said the case was a criminal not intelligence matter. "A request for the extradition of Mr Lugovoy to face trial in a UK court has been handed over. We await the formal Russian response," a foreign office spokesman said. "This is a criminal matter and is not an issue about intelligence. A British citizen was killed in London and UK citizens and visitors were put at risk." Litvinenko himself, in a signed statement he was said to have dictated on his deathbed, accused Mr Putin and the Russian security services of being behind his murder. Mr Lugovoi and Russian business associate, Dmitry Kovtun, met Litvinenko in London on the day he fell ill.

But Mr Lugovoi insisted the real killers and motives were to be found in the UK. He said he and Mr Kovtun were not only innocent, but were victims of the case themselves, having been contaminated with polonium. He said he was being made a "scapegoat" for the murder by the UK, and that traces of polonium found in various locations visited by him and Mr Kovtun had been put there to incriminate them. Mr Lugovoi is himself a former KGB officer who now runs security and consumer goods businesses in Russia. He alleged Litvinenko had told him he was working for MI6, but said he believed the exiled Russian may have fallen out with his handlers. "I cannot escape the thought that Litvinenko was an agent who had got out of control and they got rid of him," he said. Asked if he had evidence of British intelligence involvement, Mr Lugovoi responded "I have," but refused to elaborate. He also alleged that Litvinenko was attempting to blackmail Mr Berezovsky with what Litvinenko claimed was compromising material that could jeopardise Mr Berezovsky's political asylum status in the UK. Mr Lugovoi said British intelligence had attempted to recruit him on one of his previous trips to the UK. "[They] proposed that I collect materials to discredit Vladimir Putin and his family," he said.

So there you have it. Litvineko was a British agent, and the BRITISH killed him because he was "out of control." He "has evidence" but won't share it. And he chooses to mention this only after he gets indicted for murder, and refuses to face justice. It's hard to believe these events are real, that they are not part of some silly comedy invented by Hollywood. Do real people actually act this way? Do they actually think they can fool other people in doing so? Perhaps only if they ar Russians.

La Russophobe
dares to wonder which would be more pathetic and horrifying: (a) that these are boldfaced lies and the Kremlin knows it, and they believe the Western world can be fooled by such ludicrous, ham-handed neo-Soviet tactics; (b) that the Kremlin, consumed by frenzied paranoia and cut off from all hint of genuine information, actually believes Boris Berezovsky is a British agent and that the British killed Litivinenko.


BetterDeadThanRed said...

The charge that MI6 seeked to recruit him is credible.
The charge that Berezovsky (as if the home secretary would ever give permission to extradite a MI6 agent is laughable, it was the courts that denied the extradition) and Litvinenko are MI6 agents is not:
1) MI6 agents do not need to apply for asylum.
2) What information could they gather being in exile in London?
3) If Litvinenko had tried to recruit him and he went along with and back home he told the GRU/FSB that strengthens (but does not prove) the argument that the Russian secret services were behind the killing, going on past performance.

Looks like a old fashioned KGB misinformation campaign. The fact he presented several theories coupled with the fact that he has remained silent on the matter shows the strength of his elusive "evidence"... I personally doubt the strength of the evidence that CPS has, it seems it would be too much circumstantial (i.e. could not be proven beyond reasonable doubt), which would not hold up in a British court..

Russian patriot said...

Andrey Lugovoy can say whatever he wants. In Russia we say: The tongue does not have bones.
Of course he can make up things and he will. People who are accused of something always say something funny. He is a former friend of Litvinenko (rest in peace, guy!), after all. And Litvinenko liked to speak out nonsence, like, that Russian FSB was behind 9.11-attack on the USA, attacks on trains in London and Spain, Putin was a pedophile or that Al-Quaida operative in Iraq Al-Zarquawi was trained in Russia. The guy earned money speaking that way. Lugovoy is the same kind of a fruit.
We, smart people (including La Rossophobe, of course) must not pay a great deal of attention to what the bullshitters say. In Russia we say: It is impossible to respong with the "God bless you!" for every sneese in the world.