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Friday, January 18, 2008

From Russia with Spite

An editorial from the Times of London:

The polonium trail that started at the deathbed of Alexander Litvinenko and wound through West London's sushi bars now extends, metaphorically at least, to the British Council's two regional offices in Russia. The Kremlin wants them shut. It accuses the council of operating “outside its official status”. In reality, it is casting around for leverage in the escalating row over Scotland Yard's attempt to extradite the chief suspect in the Litvinenko murder. The council has reopened its Yekaterinburg office in defiance of a Kremlin edict and plans to do the same in St Petersburg on Thursday. Yesterday, summoned to the Foreign Ministry to explain himself, the British Ambassador in Moscow gave warning that any further Russian actions against the British Council would be considered breaches of international law. Forget the OK Corral. For a primer in the art of the 21st-century showdown, look no further than a modest, fifth-floor office suite a few blocks from the Hermitage.

It beggars belief that an Anglo-Russian relationship relaunched in a blaze of Blairite bonhomie eight years ago should have sunk to this. The British Council's connection to the Litvinenko affair is non-existent except insofar as its UK-appointed staff have diplomatic status. This, Moscow believes, gives grounds for reflexive attacks on the council's operations whenever any aspect of the bilateral relationship is causing irritation, without risking a full diplomatic rupture. It is true that closing libraries and cultural centres may be less dangerous than shutting embassies. It is also true that Russia's latest round of bullying is shot through with schoolyard spite, and entirely self-defeating.

In Russia, as elsewhere, the British Council exists to “connect people with learning opportunities and creative ideas from the UK”. This used to be called cultural diplomacy, but the phrase does little justice to a range of heavily oversubscribed services that include teacher training, educational exchanges, walk-in information centres and sponsorship of major arts events. Last year, half a million Russians were taught by British-Council-trained English teachers or visited a council centre or event, and another million accessed its web-based services. More than 40 young Russians travelled to Britain on pres-tigious university scholarships administered by the council, and 338,000 approached it for information about education in the UK.

It is not arrogance but common sense to observe that in an anglophone and increasingly borderless business world, Russians stand to gain hugely and to lose nothing at all from a British Council presence in their major cities. The current Kremlin leadership is wilfully blind to this. Conceivably, a nimbler response from London to the opportunities created by the Soviet collapse could have ensured that some of Vladimir Putin's aides, nearly a generation later, would be admirers of the council's work. Instead, Mr Putin's thinly veiled xenophobia sweeps all before it, and three British Council offices remain of the fifteen less than three years ago.

This dismaying and destructive rift may deepen before it starts to heal: Mr Putin, who leaves office in March, has little reason to foster personal warmth with Gordon Brown, and the chill he radiates instead is bouncing back. It is to be hoped that his successor wants a thaw.

A Russian Times Online reader responds:

I address to all Westerners. Understand, that the British Advice - a mix of recruiting item with a propaganda shop and about it all already know in Russia. By means of such offices England clings to the imperial past, trying to distribute the influence through introduction of English outlook. To correct position, England should refuse symbols of the imperial past, and to the British Advice to collect suitcases and to return to London, and to work, work... To Russians your advice and reproaches, you for us - not an example are already uninteresting! Understand the problems and do not climb to Russia! We do not climb to you advice - you do not climb to us! Your false antiRussian propagation has bothered all in Russia!
One can't help but note, as another TOL reader did, how much in need this Russian is of the British Council's English language teaching services. One must also wonder whether this reader is herself affiliated with the government without declaration, and whether she has the same attitude towards the Russia Today state-sponsored television propaganda campaign that operates in Britain and elsewhere. Russians like to think of themselves as living in a "strong" and "resurgent" country thanks to Putin, yet they fear the British Council? As always, Russians' mouths are writing checks their fists can't cash.

A second Russian, referring to himself as "Muslim" comments:

"The question whether or not the British Council is beneficial for Russia is completely irrelevant. The fact is that Brithish Council is NOT a part of British Embassy or Consulate, it is non-departanmental public body, i.e. it's a separate entity. Therefore it should not work in Russia on the same legal basis as foreign Embassy or Consulate at least not until it's relationship to them and it's appropriate legal status is clarified. And Moscow never stated that it wants British Council to shut down completely, Russia merely wants it to properly register as NCO and operate according to Russian law. And again, it is completely irrelevant wether or not this demand is made out of some nefarious intent on part of Kremlin. The fact is that such demand is perfectly legitimate - any country has undeniable right to enforce it's law on it's territory. And Britain's blunt refusal to do so is nothing more but deliberate attempt to provoke large-scale scandal and denigrate Russian authorities."
One of our many and valued British readers responds:
I think the FSB have English speakers working full time on black propaganda. Have you noticed (maybe it is only in UK papers) how consistently people with innocent sounding names from all around the world post comments on news websites whenever there is an article which is about Russia? And they always follow the Kremlin line. I don't think anyone in the world apart from them shares the detail of their actual anti-West xenophobia. What these people write is SO close to the Kremlin line that I cannot believe they are not FSB.

WHAT "Muslim" in Moscow

1) knows that much about these things?

2) Cares?

3) Has any interest in supporting the Russian government which turns a blind eye to police racism, and practices racial cleansing of the Moscow markets, kicking hundreds of Muslims out of a job?

4) Can speak this good English? ("nefarious intent"? Come on!)

5) Reads the Times on line?

6) Has access to and time to sit on a computer reading the foreign press and replying to it?

Believe me, I know from a close friend what it is like to be a Muslim in Moscow. None of them would write this. But it IS from a Russian by the way, because you can tell by the typical way they leave out the "an" in "Russia merely wants it to properly register as NCO" and mis-spell NGO. Non-commissioned officer (NCO) is not the same a Non-governmental organisation (NGO), but it shows how fluent they are. Of course if you had KGB training as a linguist you would know "NCO" because it is a military acronym, wouldn't you and maybe in your over confidence make a mistake like this? Ah! They have given themselves away.
How is it possible that people in neo-Soviet Russia believe they can antagonize the civilized world like this? Are they insane, or simply suicidal?

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

A discussion is an uncivilized method, isn't it? And nobody in Russia, besides FSB offices, has an access to WWW, isn't it so?
A great number of 'true patriots' in Russia (though the majority of them hates the very word 'patriod') truely think that everybody, who argue with them on the web, is from FSB.

Misha said...

The former KGB spy Litvinenko defected to the UK and wrote a book where he revealed many of the secrets of the Russian KGB. He was recruited by British secret services to persuade other active and former KGB members to defect to the UK. He contacted them and invited them to supposed “business meetings” in London, the real purpose of which was to enlist them into Britain’s larger efforts to undermine the Russian government.

Whatever one wants to say about Mr. Litvinenko, it can certainly be understood that he would be viewed as a traitor of the worse sort in Russia, and especially in the Russian Secret Services. Not only did Litvinenko defect, but he caused damage to the Russian Secret Services. This damage was not a one-time incident (with the publication of his tell-all book) but it was ongoing, in that Mr. Litvinenko was recruited by British Intelligence and he played an active role in ongoing British efforts against Russia and its government.

We really do not know whether the murder of Mr. Litvinenko was the work of the Russian state or rogue elements within that state, or indeed the work of someone who only wanted to make the Russian state look bad (Boris Beresovsky had the motive). If the British government has evidence about who killed Mr. Litvinenko, then they have not shared that evidence with the public and the rest of the world.

The UK demanded that Russia extradite Mr. Lugovoy, whom they accuse of being involved in the murder of Mr. Litvinenko. Mr. Lugovoy was also a former KGB agent. Mr. Lugovoy is no longer part of the KGB (today called the FSB), but he retired some time ago and he now runs his own security company in Moscow.

One of Mr. Lugovoy’s past clients was the exiled Russian billionaire Boris Berezovsky, who hired Lugovoy’s security company to protect him and his family.

Apparently Mr. Lugovoy was invited to London by Mr. Litvinenko, for the purpose of recruiting Lugovoy into the wider British efforts directed against Russia. But Mr. Lugovoy refused to be enlisted in British plots to betray his country and he instead reported everything back to Moscow authorities, as any good citizen would. (Mr. Lugovoy is no longer active in the KGB, but he still has many of his old contacts.)

One of the more interesting details reported to the Moscow authorities by Mr. Lugovoy was that Mr. Litvinenko and the British Secret Services were especially interested in using Mr. Lugovoy’s security company to try to get information about the Russian President Vladimir Putin that would catch Putin in some sexually compromising situation, for the purpose of discrediting and humiliating the Russian president (and perhaps bringing about the downfall of his government). Mr. Lugovoy apparently played along with this scheme for some time, while meanwhile reporting everything back to his contacts in the intelligence community in Moscow.

I suppose a reasonable assumption would be that Moscow armed Mr. Lugovoy with the polonium and sent him back for a follow-up meeting with Litvinenko with instructions to drop it into his drink at the first available opportunity. Certainly that seems plausible enough on the surface, as one can argue that Moscow certainly had the motive to take out the traitor Litvinenko.

However, during the Scotland Yard investigation, which Russian government fully cooperated with, Scotland Yard traced the trail of polonium between London and Moscow. They apparently found a long trail of spilt polonium on several different aircraft, in restaurants and sushi bars, and basically everywhere they looked for it (as if whoever had it had managed to spill a lot of this dangerous substance willy-nilly all over the place). Of course one would expect a bit more carefulness and discretion if this was really a professional KGB operation.

This raises the possibility that the polonium was put there, precisely to be found, and to point a finger at Russia, and/or Mr. Lugovoy. This is by no means a completely unrealistic or unbelievable scenario. To believe the KGB did this murder, we would have to believe the KGB was criminally incompetent and inefficient it carrying out basic tasks, which does not correspond with what we know abut that organization’s modus operandi. Some may call the KGB diabolical, but no one suggests they are so farcically incompetent as to spill the nuclear poison all over the plane and everywhere else.

I think we have to wonder how an operation supposedly planned and executed by the Russian security services could have been conducted in such an unprofessional and haphazard way. Why not simply instruct Mr. Lugovoy to keep the cap on the polonium until he was ready to use it? The trail of carelessly spilt polonium on the aircraft between Moscow and London could indicate a careful effort by someone to insure that the finger would be pointed at Moscow. Why even use a poison such as polonium in the first place? It is a poison that one requires access to a nuclear facility to procure (typically meaning the resources of a state). If Moscow did the murder, and if they chose polonium as the method, then of course they would have to know that they would be the prime suspects (as they had the motive and also access to the polonium).

In a country such as Russia, one could probably buy a small amount of polonium, as well as many other difficult-to-obtain items if one had the “right” connections in the nuclear power industry. I’m thinking of the billionaire Boris Beresovsky here. It’s hard to imagine that there is anything in Russia that Beresovsky would be unable to buy if he wanted it. This is a man who stood in London and vowed to finance the violent overthrow of the Russian government.

Of course the use of polonium could also have been a not-so-subtle sign given by the Russians to the British (and other potential ex-KGB defector-traitors) that this was indeed a Russian state hit. It could have been a sort of “in your face” assassination, and polonium could have been chosen by the Russian secret services as the poison specifically so the “right” people would get the message that this assassination was the work of the Russian security services.

I think there is a lot that we simply do not know at this point. Whether the British have enough evidence to charge (and more importantly to convict) Mr. Lugovoy remains to be seen. If they have such evidence they haven’t shared it with the British public nor with the Russian government.

Of course the British government demanded the extradition of Mr. Lugovoy, and of course the Russian government has refused. Article 61 of the Russian Constitution reads: "A citizen of the Russian Federation may not be deported out of Russia or extradited to another state.” That sounds pretty simple. It should be noted that it is not only Russia that has such non-extradite provision in its constitution. Many other states have identical provisions in their constitutions. Israel is but one example that comes to mind.

On the one hand the British accuse Russia, and the Putin government of running a country that is not under the basic rule of law. But on the other hand they demand that the Russian government violate its own constitution and hand over a Russian citizen, when they haven’t even provided any evidence of the man’s guilt to the Russian government. But can you even imagine the outcry in London and elsewhere if Mr. Putin announced that he was setting aside the Russian constitution in order to run for a third term as Russia’s president? Yet they apparently expect and even demand that the Russian government act lawlessly and contrary to its own constitution whenever and wherever it suits them, on little more than a whim (when one considers their steadfast refusal to present any evidence of guilt to the Russian authorities).

Russia has said that if the British have any evidence of Mr. Lugovoy’s guilt that they should present it to Russian authorities. If Russian prosecutors conclude that the evidence is sufficient then they can bring charges against Lugovoy in Russia. The British have steadfastly refused to do that. Apparently they do not feel under obligation to present any evidence of Mr. Lugovoy’s actual guilt, even though he is a foreign citizen living in a foreign country. Presumably Russia is just supposed to accept their word for it and fork over any Russian citizen that the British want on any pretense that the British care to cite. (Remember these are the same British who have consistently refused to extradite the criminal billionaire Boris Beresovsky or the mastermind of Chechnya terrorism to Russia, both of whom have been welcomed in London by the British government, despite repeated extradition requests by Russian prosecutors, which were fully supported by documentation and the detailed evidence against the accused.)

Could it be that the British do not have enough evidence of Mr. Lugovoy’s guilt, or at least not enough to stand up in a court of law, Russian or otherwise? Could it be that they want to lay hands on Mr. Lugovoy only for additional questioning and to try to intimidate him into giving them more information? In other words, is it possible that the British prosecutor has no real evidence of Lugovoy’s guilt, other than the rather trivial circumstantial evidence which I outlined above (He was on a plane were traces of the polonium was found.) Is it possible that the British are really trying to use an “extradition” request to lay hands on Mr. Lugovoy only to intimidate him and to fish for more information?

Russia had always said that British investigators were free to interview anyone living in Russia pursuant to the investigation of Litvinenko’s murder, and British investigators went to Russia more than once for this purpose. Apparently they neglected to interview Mr. Lugovoy even once. Mr. Lugovoy, for his part, says that the British investigators know his address and telephone number, and they are free to request an interview with him at any time. He has made that very clear. But the British have elected not to take him up on the offer. Could it be that the British do not have strong evidence that Lugovoy is guilty, but that they would simply prefer to interview him under the hot lights of their London offices, holding the threat of a substantial prison term over his head like the Sword of Damocles if he doesn’t cooperate? After all, Russia has granted the British investigators full access to Mr. Lugovoy from the beginning, and he himself has said that he does not object to being interviewed and even welcomes the opportunity. But so far they haven’t bothered to call him.

For his part Mr. Lugovoy has said that of course he refuses to go voluntarily back to Britain to be interviewed again. He was already there one for an interview, early in the investigation, and he told the British investigators everything he knows. Lugovoy does not think he will get a fair trial in Britain and he fears that the British have so politicized the Litvinenko murder that they now just want to stage a “London show trial” and try Mr. Lugovoy as a proxy for Mr. Putin and the entire Russian government.

Britain for its part can’t help but notice that a murder took place in its country, right under their noses. Of course only the British government knows the exact role played by Mr. Litvinenko and the full extent of his cooperation with British Secret Services in various efforts to undermine the government of the Russian Federation. This is something they are unwilling to talk about, but which they haven’t denied, since the evidence for this link is fairly well established and widely known in certain circles.

I think the British see this as a bad precedent. If they simply accept that the Russian Secret Services committed a murder on British soil, and they do not protest it, then it leaves the door open for such actions by the Russians in the future. I think the British fear a situation where former KGB spies in London start dropping dead like flies, along with exiles such as Mr. Boris Beresovsky.

I think the British government strongly suspects but does not know for certain that the Litvinenko murder was Kremlin directed. They feel that it is necessary to send a strong “signal” to Moscow that such things as murder in London streets is unacceptable, and Moscow will pay a price if it believes it can get away with such things.

The issue for Britain is not Mr. Litvinenko (who is dead and who won’t be coming back), but rather the issue is to not allow a bad precedent to be established. London doesn’t want this sort of thing in the future and they are trying to send a strong signal to Russia.

Russia was genuinely surprised by the British expulsion of Russian diplomats over this incident. President Putin called the expulsions “immoral.” Russia maintains that it was not involved in any way in Litvinenko’s murder, and that could be true for all we know. (Again, we must not forget that the violently anti-Putin billionaire Boris Beresovsky also had the motive and probably the means to carry out such an attack as well.)

In any case, Russia responded in a fairly predictable manner, by expelling four British diplomats in a tit-for-tat reaction to the British expulsions of Russian diplomats.

No one can deny that the relationship between the UK and the Russian Federation is one that is important for both sides. There are strong (and growing) business and economic ties. Many Russian companies are listed on the London Stock Exchange. Trade and investment between the two countries is rapidly expanding, as is civilian travel and tourism.

I believe that both countries have a strong incentive not to allow the dispute over the Litvinenko murder to escalate to the point where it causes further damage in the already strained relations between the two governments. It is important for both sides to keep a calm head and not to overreact.

Of course the most recent incident involves the status of the British Council in Russia. This organization is registered as a non-governmental organization (NGO), but in fact it has been and is an arm of the British Foreign Office.

Russia and Britain agreed to an expansion of their respective cultural missions in each other’s territory which was spelled out in a 1992 agreement. Britain was granted the right to open a Moscow branch of its British Council. However this agreement was only a broad framework and the agreement specifically said that the exact regulation of these cultural centers would be subject to further detailed protocols and agreements to be negotiated later.

Now, after 16 years those detailed agreements and protocols still haven’t been finalized. The position of the British is apparently that in the absence of additional detailed protocols, they are free to expand the size and scope of their cultural mission in Russia to whatever extent that they wish, with or without the approval of Russia’s government. (For example, by opening 14 additional regional British Council centers in addition to the one agreed to in Moscow.) However the Russian position is different: the Russians believe that in the absence of detailed protocols mandated by the ’92 agreement, that the working assumption is that the British cannot expand or increase their operations in Russia until such protocols are agreed and finalized.

The Russians are saying that in the absence of the detailed protocols, called for by the ’92 framework agreement, the working assumption is that the British government has no intrinsic right to expand its cultural operations in the Russian Federation. The British are saying that in the absence of the detailed protocols, there is simply “no regulation” of British cultural activities in Russia, and basically “anything goes.”

The Russian position is not a new one. But the Russian side has not made an issue of the presence (and expansion) of British Council operations on the soil of the Russian Federation, mostly as an act of good will on the part of the Russians toward the British. Even though the detailed protocols regulating cultural interchange between Russian and the UK never materialized, there was optimism on the part of the Russians that it was only a matter of time before such details would be fully negotiated. For that reason it was felt better not to press the issue with the British.

Of course the settling of such questions (and many others) presupposes that there is goodwill between both sides, and it is precisely this goodwill which now has become a casualty of the widening spat over the Litvinenko affair. Where the Russians were willing to refrain from “throwing the book” at the British in the past, that willingness is now gone.

It would be true to say that the current row over the British Council is connected to the whole Litvinenko affair and the general souring of British-Russian relations brought about by that affair. However it would be incorrect to view the Russian decision to close the British Council offices merely as some form of petty revenge-taking, somehow directly connected to the Litvinenko affair as such. In reality the situation is a bit more nuanced and complicated than that.

After Britain expelled 4 Russian diplomats, and Russia responded in kind, the Russian government began a full-scale review of all aspects of British-Russian relations. It was felt that if the row escalated further, and more diplomats were expelled from both sides, that Russia did not want to get the short end of the stick. This would require that there is something like an equal number of diplomats on both sides, so that Russia would be able to match the British, expulsion-for-expulsion. (Otherwise Russia might run out of its diplomats in Britain while Britain still had many diplomats left in Russia.)

Those Russian analyses lead to a re-evaluation of the role played by such “grey” organizations as the British Council. While such an organization is ostensibly “independent,” it is understood that it functions as little more than an arm of the British Foreign Office. Therefore it is logical and correct for Russia to view the British staff at the 14 regional Russian Council offices as an extension of the British diplomatic corps in Russia. Britain can claim that this organization only exists to promote cultural activities, and nothing more, but such cultural activities are only one lawful function of a nation’s total diplomatic personnel in any country, not some birthright that one nation can claim the right to exercise on the soil of another nation, against that nation’s will.

Therefore Russia had to consider the British nationals working for the British Council in Russia as part of the overall British diplomatic and councilor corps in Russia. When these numbers are considered, it is obvious that the British have many more diplomatic and councilor personnel in Russia than Russia has in Britain. This obviously creates an imbalance when both sides have already gone down the road of tit-for-tat expulsions of each other’s diplomats. (Recall that the expulsions were started by the British side, not the Russian side.)

While such an imbalance in total numbers of diplomatic personnel may have been tolerable under conditions where there was general goodwill in the relations between the two nations, it became intolerable in light of the widening row over the Litvinenko affair and the collapse of that goodwill.

Russia carefully examined the legal status of these “British Council” offices and its British employees and Russia now maintains that the British Council does not have a solidified legal basis for being in Russia at all. The 1992 agreement which permits such cultural exchanges always envisioned a set of follow-on agreements and protocols to clarify the exact status and rules of the cultural missions on both sides. In any case, the 1992 agreement explicitly states that any British cultural organizations operating in Russia are subject to Russian national law. (This renders all British arguments a moot point, since Russian law can simply be amended to ban all such activities by the British Council on Russian soil.)

Upon a carful review of the legal status of the operations of British Council on the territory of the Russian Federation, the decision was taken by the Russian government to terminate those operations effective on January 1, 2008. In October of 2007 the Russian government gave formal notification to the British that these operations were expected to cease their operations on the territory of the Russian Federation as of January 1, 2008. This certainly gave the British ample time to get their affairs in order and to close these operations in an orderly way, without any stress or “intimidation” being involved for the staff.

As an alternative to Russia expelling the British Council and its employees from Russia, Russia could have instead insisted on fully exploiting its own rights under the 1992 framework agreement (interpreting the agreement the same way the British apparently do). In that case, Russia would surely have the right to dramatically increase the total number of its diplomatic and councilor employees in Britain, until that number matched the number that Britain currently has in Russia (including all those at the regional “British Council” offices). Russia would have the right to increase the size of its diplomatic corps in the UK until Russia had the same total number of officers in the UK as Britain has in Russia. Of course the UK would not grant such an expanded number of visas to Russia just now, as Britain just got finished expelling 4 Russian diplomats.

Therefore Russia’s present action, which is to refuse to grant new visas to Britons for the purpose of enabling them to staff the British Council offices, is a carefully measured and perfectly proportional action.

The British for their part have only replied by making vague references to “international law” (which they apparently interpret as giving the British government the right to open as many cultural offices as they like, whenever and wherever they want, where the host government is powerless to do anything about it).

The British government has so far openly defied Moscow’s decision to close these regional offices of the British Council. The British have said that lots of Russians have benefitted from the activities of the British Council in Russia. Of course that is a completely moot point. What is at issue is not whether Russian citizens benefit from this or that activity of the British government conducted on Russian soil, but rather the right of a foreign government to conduct activities on Russian soil at all, when the Russian government has explicitly disapproved of that government’s activities on its soil and has requested those activities to cease. The last time I checked the Russian Federation was still a sovereign nation. The British government has no more right to decide “what is best” for the Russian people living in Russia than the Russian government has to decide what’s best for Britons in Britain.

But here we need to be careful, because the British have obviously acted rather disingenuously over this latest incident, and no statements proceeding from London can really be taken at face value. The Russian side correctly understands the situation when it says that the British actions and statements are intended as calculated provocations against Moscow. These statements by the British government are not intended as serious statements about the British interpretation of a nation’s rights and responsibilities under international law, as a matter of universal principle, or something to be debated or argued about in international court. Rather these statements are as they appear to be: calculated and deliberate provocations by Britain directed against one nation: Russia.

The British are apparently hoping to provoke Moscow into overreacting (perhaps by forcibly seizing British Council assets and arresting expelling that organization’s British employees). This would put the British in the position of representing themselves to the world as “the defenders of the rule of law against the barbarism of the undemocratic Russians,” which of course is exactly where the British are hoping this latest dispute will lead.

After all, what could be more carefully calculated to provoke the anger of the Russian government than to question its sovereignty over its own territory and its own citizens, by suggesting that the British government can ignore the Russian government’s protests, pertaining to British Council operations on Russian soil, as long as they (the British) have decided for themselves that staying in Russia is “in the best interests of the Russian people?”

Of course the entire row reflects little more than a transparent effort by the British to provoke Moscow into taking some disproportionate action. Russia for its part has behaved with admirable restraint in the face of such provocations. The simple fact is that if the Russian government has decided that these British operations will no longer be allowed in Russia, then they will be coming to an end. There is nothing the British can do about it, except perhaps to try to misrepresent the incident to the world community, and perhaps to score cheap political points on the way out.

That Russia has not reacted to this British provocation violently is perhaps the source of profound disappointment to the British. However it is not necessary for Russia to seize assets or forcibly expel anyone. Russia can squeeze the British Council out of existence by simply refusing to grant visas to its British personnel and by cautioning the Russian employees of the British Council about the illegal status of the organization.

The Russian government has taken the decision to evict the British Council from Russia. The arrogant notion that the British can simply defy the Russian government and keep their offices open, if they only will “keep a stiff upper lip” is absurd, of course. If the Russian government has decided to close these offices on Russian soil then they will be closed.

We must take care to understand that this present dispute is not about the extradition of one man, nor about the operation of British cultural offices in Russia. There is something much deeper and more fundamental that is operating in the present dispute between Russia and the UK.

If you’ve been watching this story unfold, then surely you know that the British government keeps making semi-veiled references to “consulting with our international partners” before taking the next steps. So one is permitted to ask who is it that the British must consult with before they can decide what to do? Could it be Germany? Or France maybe? Of course this is a thinly-veiled reference to the United States, which is the only lord and master that the British lap dog answers to.

The Americans are unwilling to step forward and directly engage in such provocations against Russia themselves, but that does not stop them from sending their trusty poodle Great Britain to clamp its teeth onto the pant leg of Russia, in some weird American game of provocation-by-proxy.

The current deterioration in the relations between Russia and the UK cannot be isolated from the broader context of the deterioration in relations between the United States and Russia. For the Americans, using Britain as a proxy for initiating provocative actions against Russia is a low risk strategy. The Americans can continue trying to provoke Russia and trying to discredit Russia in world opinion, while still enjoying Russian cooperation on the things that matter to them (such as cooperation in the War on Terrorism and in nuclear non-proliferation).

But even if the United States and the UK are on the same page (albeit with one living in the master’s house and the other in the dog’s house), it does not mean the entire Western world is in agreement with this Anglo-American strategy of provoking Russia. Indeed the very reason for such actions can be understood precisely as an effort to provoke Russia into taking some disproportionate response, which will force the other western countries to more closely align themselves with Washington against Russia. For then the Americans can say, “See we told you so… The Russians are not to be trusted... They can pretend to be civilized for a time, but when push comes to shove they are still the savages we warned you about (just came out of the wild forest don’t you know)..."

Since the fall of communism the US has tried to justify its continued militarism in Europe by replacing the old ideologically-driven Ruskie-as-commie motif with a new and improved Ruskie-as-undemocratic-barbarian motif. But this strategy has not been entirely successful for the Americans. At least they haven’t sufficiently provoked Russia yet in any case, but certainly not for want of trying.

Now the Americans have decided to pursue a more confrontational line against Moscow, quite for their own reasons (mostly to justify the continued existence and expansion of NATO, which lost most of its Raison d'être when its Warsaw Pact opponent vanished). But this confrontational and provocative approach towards Moscow is not universally accepted in the larger Western world (outside the UK of course, which does whatever its American master bids it to do). I am thinking here of France and Germany, for example. Other countries want and need good relations with Russia and want to expand trade and other ties with Russia. They see no reason to return to something like a new Cold War mentality in their Relations with Russia, and the Russian side most certainly doesn’t need or want a new confrontation with the West.

All this poses a challenge for the Americans. The challenge is how to provoke Russia while at the same time still claiming the high moral ground, and pretending to be the guardians of democracy and civilization against the barbarian Russians. The challenge for Russia is to resist the strong temptation to overreact to such American provocations. We are very likely to witness a continued increase in both the magnitude and frequency of such provocations in the near future.

In a recent article, the British Council is described as follows: “The non-governmental organization, the British Council, which is the cultural arm of the British Embassy, promoting education and cultural programs, first established an office in Moscow in the 1990s and went on to open a further 14 offices across Russia.”

So which is it? The British Council is a non-governmental organization (NGO) or it is the “cultural arm of the British Embassy?” It hardly seems possible to square such a circle and have it both ways.

On the one hand Britain claims that the British Council is the beneficiary and heir of all intergovernmental cultural agreements between the UK and the Russian Federation (so for example it has the right to operate under the 1992 cultural agreement, which was a government-to-government agreement, not involving any NGOs). Britain insists that the British staff of the BC operates with full diplomatic accreditation. But when Russia insists that British Council constitutes part of the British diplomatic and councilor presence in Russia, and ought to be counted as such, then suddenly it morphs into an NGO again, and has noting to do with the British government. Then when Russia suggests that as an NGO the British Council must comply with Russian tax law, and pay taxes on its Russian revenues (the BC charges its Russian customers for its English language courses and its other services), then the British government claims once again that the BC is really a British government agency and an extension of the British Embassy’s cultural arm, and as such it should be immune to Russian taxation. Of course all of this nonsense is little more than a game of British charades, and Russia is now calling that charade.

The ongoing dispute between Russia and Britain over the status of this now-its-a-British-government-agency-now-its-not British Council is not a new dispute. Russia has been attempting to clarify the legal status of this organization for over 3 years, since well before the more recent Litvinenko affair. During this time Russia was always willing to give the British the benefit of the doubt, and to work in good faith towards an honest and reasonable settlement of the outstanding issues. Russia was always willing to allow the BC to continue to operate, while the legal issues were negotiated and settled. But since the Litvinenko affair, the goodwill between the two sides no longer exists. It was the British who “froze” all outstanding diplomatic discussions and negotiations with Russia, after they expelled 4 Russian diplomats. Therefore the Russian government has rightly taken the decision that the BC must suspend its operations in Russia at once. At present it is an illegal organization, which is operating in the Russian Federation contrary to the express wishes of the Russian government, and outside of any mutually agreed legal framework. In short the British Council and its British staff are presently persona non-gratia (“persons not wanted” in diplomatic-speak) in Russia.

-Misha

Anonymous said...

LR,

Do you, or your smarmy British friend, have any idea how many Muslims there are in Moscow? I've read estimates that put the number as high as 1.5 million. With that large of a population, I don't think it's a huge stretch that there is ONE person who capably reads and writes English, reads the Times online, cares, and would take the time out of their day to write up such a response.

Artfldgr said...

wow misha, your taking lessons from me! :) (i am too am
long winded)

Whatever one wants to say about Mr. Litvinenko, it can certainly be understood that he would be viewed as a traitor of the worse sort in Russia, and especially in the Russian Secret Services.

Oh, definitely… he would be like golitsyn, on a list of those who are to be removed if you can find them. And the means of his death was as sure a message to the operatives, the fellow travelers, illegals, and others that might be thinking along the same line. Kind of like finding a dead horse in your bed, a fish in your trunk, or a friend dead with no shoes on, or perhaps a Columbian necktie.

Everyone has their own way of sending messages…

But then, I point this out… what about those like Nosenko then? A defector that gives interviews and acts like a pundit to explain things happening like a sports caster calls color or play by play?


http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE7DE173CF934A2575AC0A96F948260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=4
The psychology of defectors has been little studied, although one intelligence veteran cited two characteristics ''that almost all defectors share - career frustration and problems with spouses.'' Typically, he said, defectors tend to be ''bright and ambitious.''

Since the number of Soviet and other defectors handled by the C.I.A. is classified, the total can only be estimated. But Clair George, the agency's former deputy director for operations, has said privately that there are about 750 defectors in the program, some dating back to World War II.


there are a lot of them, and the number is probably higher... but there are a few who have serious information, and there is still a price on their heads, and they are the ones we dont listen to. so that says something about the people who defend the west as well.

We really do not know whether the murder of Mr. Litvinenko was the work of the Russian state or rogue elements within that state, or indeed the work of someone who only wanted to make the Russian state look bad (Boris Beresovsky had the motive).

Rogue elements in a kgb’s state that can have access to nuclear materials? In one sentence you cant imagine the kgb being incompetent enough to have stuff leak all over, and now your claiming rogue elements?

The amount of poison was more than a million dollars worth, the stuff is incredibly expensive. Easier to use any number of a dozen known toxins, or use one of the toxins developed in Russia? (care for a name?)

lawrence livermore has been collecting isotopic samples from the nuclear reactors around the world and such. These create a fingerprint that allows someone with the knowledge to work backwards as to where the sources are from... this is one reason that Russia buys yellowcake it doesn’t need. Mix up the stuff, and you can’t tell exactly where it’s from.

they should have stuck to the older methods, but what happened in this case was that they used way too much... the person they sent was a fool, and probably didn’t follow the orders... the way its administered if it was less, would have resulted in stomach cancer in short order (or would have seemed like severe food poisoning and blamed on raw fish)... and no traces would be left..

this is how several defectors laid out how things were done but they used to use a different substance (one pointing out that some deaths that were thought to be natural were actually kgb assassinations using a certain acid in a tube that would cause them to gasp and take it in. then they would die, and the stuff would break down)

The United states never had the poison division the Berea had.. The same division that made the poison and such that was used to murder Stalin. (Recent release of his medical records show this).

If they would have used a more common or easily obtained poison, then they would have had much more success in denying any links..

polonium is available in the west (you can order it online if you want), but as quoted in the register and other places it would take more than a million dollars to have a toxic amount, and the amount used was many times the needed amount. The key here is that 210 is not the only isotope, but it is the most lethal.

"We reported yesterday polonium-210 is available to buy online. The vendor has since posted this message: "You would need about 15,000 of our Polonium-210 needle sources at a total cost of about $1 million - to have a toxic amount."

Only a source that gets its stuff for free would use that to do what they did... it was selected because they wanted it to be a statement. If one uses a wrecking ball to kill a fly, it’s a statement... period.. ricin, as the bridge assassination was, would have been much easier, and faster, and harder to trace..(After all, it doesn’t emit like a flashlight in the dark so its harder to find a trail)

Boris might have had the motive, but he doent have the means... it also doesn’t explain then how it was a Russian man that did the work, and why Russia would give him office to prevent any actions.

Russia both had motive (as you start off with),history, means, and access... with a glowing trail leading back to them through the restaurant, cabs, planes, etc.

Apparently Mr. Lugovoy was invited to London by Mr. Litvinenko, for the purpose of recruiting Lugovoy into the wider British efforts directed against Russia.

Apparently you accept whatever information that you want to accept.. Its whose contention that that was the purpose? Uk or russias? or lugovoy.. go back and look.. your listening to the murderer say he didn’t do it while at the same time hearing an argument that also tries to get him out if he did do it. that’s called covering the bases, or controlling all parts of the argument.

One of the more interesting details reported to the Moscow authorities by Mr. Lugovoy was that Mr. Litvinenko and the British Secret Services were especially interested in using Mr. Lugovoy’s security company to try to get information about the Russian President Vladimir Putin that would catch Putin in some sexually compromising situation, for the purpose of discrediting and humiliating the Russian president (and perhaps bringing about the downfall of his government).

Well that point is silly (if you can now imagine grade school children walking through the Smithsonian and some person giving the tour shows them the semen stain of the president of the United States on Monica’s dress. and you believe that naughty pictures would topple Russia?)...

Finding out that putin has sex with men, would mean what in the west where sex with men is taught in schools? Such stuff would discredit him to whom? His friends the Islamic mullahs? You might think so, but its easier to use a double and photoshop than it is to turn a spy to get him to take paparazzi shots of a world leader being a deviate. Meanwhile, in order to ‘use’ them they have to admit to the world what they did to get them and look like what?

This is why most people don’t or cant rise up to control nations. They cant think things through. This is also why they get suckered easily. If it sounds good on first blush, then heck, it has to be right.

Anyway, it wouldn’t change much about anything if it was true, and we had photos and they were in playboy, or farmers playpen, anyone care to list out the gay or deviate leaders in the past 40 years and let me know how that hurt them...(I remember the anniversary of a certain senator that drove off a pier killing a young girl, didn’t seem to hurt him too much, did it?)

This spy tactic was a Russian tactic.. The US and west didnt use honeypots like russia did and still do. Remember, their methods are pragmatic, unlimited, no concept of evil (as lennin said they must do, and why he loaded the cheka from the prisons), so such methods are only useful in the west against the west (and only in the past). The funny part is that such tactics only work among people who are embarrassed, and so forth. there is a famous story about a honeypot action in which the kgb photographed a british person. they then approached the person, and like a movie the person asked them for copies. He didn’t care that the world knew, and so it had no effect, cause the effect of such actions are not to get the world to act. It doesn’t care.. its to get someone like you who thinks it will act to be afraid of a future that never is and then act to prevent it.

In fact in a sociopath rulership its a given that he avails himself of perversions that he wishes and does so secretly.. It’s almost tradition. People still met with edi amin.. No?

I suppose a reasonable assumption would be that Moscow armed Mr. Lugovoy with the polonium and sent him back for a follow-up meeting with Litvinenko with instructions to drop it into his drink at the first available opportunity. Certainly that seems plausible enough on the surface, as one can argue that Moscow certainly had the motive to take out the traitor Litvinenko.

More than reasonable given their ADMITTED actions in history even up to the present time, and archive records of past history. The poison would have gone through the embassy to insure that it could not be traced back.. one would need access to the embassy property to check, and the pouch wouldn’t be opened till at the embassy. A possible explanation for the leaking is someone opening up the jar before reading the instructions, then closing it. without checking they wouldn’t know it had been compromised. It may have leaked from the start and no one cared.

This is the problem when armchair sleuths do their sleuthing. They use things like "i would never do that, so they wouldn’t do that", while pragmatism says... do whatever will get the end result, there are no morals, there are no ethics, there are no limits, other than desired results.

Now that seems like it would be powerful... but people that think like that cant think like normal people and so they come off weird, and their plans don’t work right. Same with sociopaths... hint hint.. Meanwhile, people who are healthy and not that way, CAN model the alternative.. But usually don’t because the truth is painful and to them conceivable, but not actionable. (now you know why its been a bumbling 100 years for both sides.. one side misses the mark while full of hubris.. the other side ignores the facts in front of it, and refuses to do what is necessary under the circumstances given the others actions. so you get the most kafkaesque dance of skeletons you ever could conceive of)

However, during the Scotland Yard investigation, which Russian government fully cooperated with, Scotland Yard traced the trail of polonium between London and Moscow. They apparently found a long trail of spilt polonium on several different aircraft, in restaurants and sushi bars, and basically everywhere they looked for it (as if whoever had it had managed to spill a lot of this dangerous substance willy-nilly all over the place). Of course one would expect a bit more carefulness and discretion if this was really a professional KGB operation.

again.. assumptions no research...


we are talking about a radioactive substance.. what kind of radiation? whats its effects? and how small a sample do you need to be detectable.

once opened, the stuff gets everywhere.. Ever see them do the germ fluorescence clean your kitchen test? a small thing touched, can spread all over.. also the ‘killer’ could not be seen acting weird after administering it, and so could not prevent handling of the cups, dribbling, cross handling of things at the table, etc. to be one way one second, and then not want to touch anything the next second, would have not worked.

Then the poor concept of how they found it everywhere they looked. tsk tsk. After the incident they had a list of locations that the people who were at the crime scene had been and went to. so rather than it be this mystery that they searched the whole country and miraculously found stuff, they searched the locations that matched the stories of the people who were interviewed before they knew that this stuff would be all over. so they said where they were - not to mention that since these all are spies and ex spies, they might have been watched - which meant that the state might have watched them do it, but cant release that without tipping their hat. But unlike you I admit that that’s only supposition and the opposite is as likely given that it was a free state they were meeting in.

However the way things panned out in the press if I were to GUESS I would say that they have clear evidence of that kind.. A video from the places cameras.. Or cameras and such they had set up... etc.. And that they thought that when presented with the evidence that Russia would turn lugovoy over.

however Russia decided to play poker, to call the bluff and put them in a position of having to reveal the information publicly and compromise whatever it is that they don’t want to compromise (or else they would have let it out). Probably it’s the very simple fact that there are operations going on in the country at all. For a long while everyone has been trying to keep “the game” behind the scenes, and such actions would bring things into the open again. Of course, that it did get into the open put the UK in a position of rock and hard place since they are supposed to protect citizens, and if they don’t go after this, and push, who will walk into their offices and say “I defect”?

To seal the deal Russia gave him an office and made him untouchable in case he forgets his status, travels and they take him from a middle tier country that looks the other way..

Now that’s all supposition.. There is no way for you or i to actually know if that’s the case.


I think we have to wonder how an operation supposedly planned and executed by the Russian security services could have been conducted in such an unprofessional and haphazard way. Why not simply instruct Mr. Lugovoy to keep the cap on the polonium until he was ready to use it?

Because humans are humans.. They don’t always act the way you want them to. Your implying a perfection of things that even the KGB doesn’t have (which is contrary to your other assertion of rogues being able to operate and gain nuclear material), but pretends to have. He may have rehearsed with the real container. They may have thought that no one would look and it wouldn’t matter... (An action that is supposed to be totally secret and relies on that and the surety of that is not one that has an alternative plan to cover contingencies since there aren’t supposed to be any)

One thing I can say that you haven’t figured out...

The 'criminal', spent a lot of time with that stuff and with it unprotected. If he knew how to handle it, he may decide to defect, given what the assignment is likely to do. After all, with his carelessness did he get any inside him? The stuff is incredibly toxic inside the body... and if he got a little bit in him, the results may take years to show. right now he doesn’t know the outcome. Could be another reason they want him close. He may get sick, and when he does feel betrayed, and then talk.

Did you look up the properties of the stuff?

Science writer John Emsley has calculated that, by weight, polonium is about a trillion times more toxic than cyanide. Eating or breathing less than one-thousandth of a gram typically causes death in 20 days, according to the Health Physics Society.

And there was enough of it to leave traces all over the place... he was handling it.. did he hold food? He wouldn’t get enough to kill him like that… but he could get enough wiping his face, and so forth to hurt him over 10 years. .

On the one hand the British accuse Russia, and the Putin government of running a country that is not under the basic rule of law. But on the other hand they demand that the Russian government violate its own constitution and hand over a Russian citizen, when they haven’t even provided any evidence of the man’s guilt to the Russian government.,

Ah.. they violated international law by sending an assassin into another country to kill a citizen. However, you’re assuming that they didn’t show evidence to Russia… what if they did? What if they showed putin a hdtv film of him doing it and its real… and putin says.. no.

Now what? Do you show the whole world the film, and then give putin material to spin some spin that some will believe, or are you stuck in a stalemate? Russian kgb, great on tactics, bad on strategy.

Russia has said that if the British have any evidence of Mr. Lugovoy’s guilt that they should present it to Russian authorities. If Russian prosecutors conclude that the evidence is sufficient then they can bring charges against Lugovoy in Russia. The British have steadfastly refused to do that. Apparently they do not feel under obligation to present any evidence of Mr. Lugovoy’s actual guilt, even though he is a foreign citizen living in a foreign country.


No he is not a foreign citizen living in a foreign country; he is an assassin taking refuge in a country he escaped to. This is where the rule of law stuff comes from. The rule of law does NOT play the game your describing. The rule of law lets the process happen, and so normally they would turn him over since he is not a citizen, but an assassin. He would go to trial, the evidence would be presented and there would be the whole world watching.

Think of that… do you really think the UK could shut the cameras, bar access, and not be scrutinized to the point of what the people were wearing and that they touched their forhead only two times on Monday not three times like Friday.

In Russia you can have such a case, but not in the west. So the comparison or the concept that the trial or such would be something like a stalin show trial is not possible. So it’s a false argument.

What would happen is that the whole thing would be discussed in the open with the world to watch. Lets say the uk does have this evidence. Well they are holding it because they are not going to give out all their evidence to the public, any more than if some murder happened they give the public the files to pore over. That’s because it violates the rights of the accused. He cant get a fair trial if they do that. But your demanding it as if that’s the right thing to do.

So Russia cant afford to have the whole thing discussed. If lugovoy did nothing, then there wouldn’t be much of a story in court. If they trumped up the stuff, like you claim, what would happen? Everyone, like you, and me, would pick everything apart with a find tooth comb, though some of us have broken teeth on our combs.

Of course there IS still a play open… but it’s a last ditch thing, and again would depend on whether the pay off is worth it. they could try him in absentia where they would get to present all the information they have, and it would not be countered. They would rather have had the right things happen and the game go back to playing quietly.

Could it be that the British do not have enough evidence of Mr. Lugovoy’s guilt, or at least not enough to stand up in a court of law, Russian or otherwise? Could it be that they want to lay hands on Mr. Lugovoy only for additional questioning and to try to intimidate him into giving them more information? In other words, is it possible that the British prosecutor has no real evidence of Lugovoy’s guilt, other than the rather trivial circumstantial evidence which I outlined above (He was on a plane were traces of the polonium was found.) Is it possible that the British are really trying to use an “extradition” request to lay hands on Mr. Lugovoy only to intimidate him and to fish for more information?

I doubt that. Would you start an international incident over no evidence? Russia would and has donet that, but not the west. If they didn’t have evidence, then the easier thing and best thing would be to let the trial go on.

And questioning? Do you think that verbally questioning a kgb man will get him to say any words to you if his right is to not say anything? So again, you flipped, rogues, to perfection, now to breaks easy under police questioning. (do you know anything as to their training, or the state of Russian prisons compared to the west? The west abandoned all those hard training things and have totally softened up, but Russian soldiers and others still get the old hard training… ergo the uk soldiers folded to Iranians that didn’t touch them)


Finding a trail of a rare radioactive substance that costs more than a million dollars for a lethal dose is not circumstantial… how is it circumstantial… if not him then who at the restaurant did it? Someone else… ok… if someone else, then how did they ride the same plane? Maybe a second person traveling with polonium in their pocket, and the same specific isotope happened to be on the plane that he flew on.

Its only circumstantial because you want others to think it is… you either haven’t logically worked it out or assume that you would see the holes, or the end result is what you want and don’t care as to the validity at all.

For his part Mr. Lugovoy has said that of course he refuses to go voluntarily back to Britain to be interviewed again. He was already there one for an interview, early in the investigation, and he told the British investigators everything he knows. Lugovoy does not think he will get a fair trial in Britain and he fears that the British have so politicized the Litvinenko murder that they now just want to stage a “London show trial” and try Mr. Lugovoy as a proxy for Mr. Putin and the entire Russian government.

That only makes sense to someone that doesn’t understand how the system here works. The whole thing would be internationally televised… how could there be a show trial? He cant be tortured, he doenst have to answer… they present evidence in the open… if it’s a secret trial due to national secrets, then what? that would just feed the problem.


Russia was genuinely surprised by the British expulsion of Russian diplomats over this incident. President Putin called the expulsions “immoral.” Russia maintains that it was not involved in any way in Litvinenko’s murder, and that could be true for all we know. (Again, we must not forget that the violently anti-Putin billionaire Boris Beresovsky also had the motive and probably the means to carry out such an attack as well.)

Nope.. he didn’t have the means of having someone else ride the same places and stuff… and remember, you mention that lugovoy was intereviewed first.. and so they went to where he said.. and was witnessed to have been, and have confirmed records for… So how does berosovsky get this one on him? You haven’t worked out your assertions (or others). Given the trail, the substance, isotopic fingerprinting, the impossiblility of a shadow, it doenst work…

========================================================

Also… and here is the biggest also… if they framed him, then why did they let him go?

The only reason to let him go is that you’re playing by the rules. You don’t have enough yet to charge him, the rules say you have to let him go, and time is on his side.

If you were going to frame someone, why would you let them go? You would produce the evidence that you were going to use (since you already have it), and prevent his escape.

Are you saying that they didn’t have the evidence to frame him until after the incident? How does that work?



Ah… its not worth going farther…

misha said...

”However the way things panned out in the press if I were to GUESS I would say that they have clear evidence of that kind.. A video from the places cameras.. Or cameras and such they had set up... etc.. And that they thought that when presented with the evidence that Russia would turn lugovoy over.”

If the British had this “clear evidence” of Lugovoy’s guilt, as you suggest, but offer no proof for, then there would be no reason to show it to the British public and to the world, if for no other reason than to shame Russia into taking some action. In this supposedly “free” and “open” society that you make such much fuss about, there is no reason why the facts known in a criminal case should not be brought to the fore.

In fact, in the absence of British willingness to show the world the evidence, we are not allowed to assume that the evidence exists, but the British just prefer to sit on it. The logical assumption is that they don’t have it.

In fact, the British have a lot to hide about this case, such as the details of what exactly was Mr. Litvinenko’s relationship with British secret services. Clearly this relationship would be highly relevant in any “fair” trial of Mr. Lugovoy, since Lugovoy claims he was summoned to London by Litvinenko for an alleged “business meeting.” But shortly after Mr. Lugovoy arrived it was apparent to him that he was being recruited by Litvinenko into some bizarre triangle involving Litvinenko, British Intelligence, and even Boris Beresovsky.

You claim that Great Britain is a free and open society, and that’s all they want is to subject Mr. Lugovoy to a fair trial (with a set of evidence that for some reason they’ve chosen to keep secret at least until now). But who are you fooling? Due to “Official Secrets Act” and other British laws, nothing will be allowed to come out in a British court that could compromise British National Security (read the secrets of British security services). Every time the defendant brings up Litvinenko’s connections to British Intelligence, the drapes will be pulled over the courtroom, and no one will be permitted to know what is going on inside.

Instead of having the “fair and open trial,” proposed in your hypothetical “open Britain,” what we are far more likely to see is mostly a secret trial, where important facts are kept hidden by the British state, and where the rest of the world may never even know what the main evidence against Mr. Lugovoy. As I keep saying, if they have this alleged “evidence” then LET’S SEE IT, for god’s sake. If the British are keeping their evidence secret they are not doing so to protect Mr. Lugovoy, or Russia; they can only be keeping it secret to protect BRITAIN, because there is some sensitive information that they do not want the world to know.

But this raises the broader issue of the sheer arrogance of Britain claiming to offer the only venue in the world where such cases of “international law” can be tried, and the out-of-hand British rejection of the offer by Russia to try Mr. Lugovoy there. Whatever you want to say about Russian justice and however you want to smear the Russian authorities, the fact is that it would be very difficult for Russia to acquit the defendant in a case where every international eye was focused on it like a laser beam, and where the British government came forward with its strong evidence.

But no, Britain arrogantly assumes that it alone can offer the venue where such a “sensitive” case can be tried, and it conveniently forgets that it is no mere disinterested and objective jury, but rather that it is one of the main parties to the dispute (a clear conflict of interest). I already mentioned that the UK will certainly invoke “Official Secrets” and close off any open courtroom discussion of British intelligence activities, at the very moment the trial is just starting to get juicy (at least when viewed from a Russian perspective).

It is absurd to suggest that the Russian Federation is just supposed to ignore its own constitution, fork over a Russian citizen to the UK, in a politicized case that involves multiple layers of international of cloak-and-dagger intrigue.

You accuse me of speculation, but I merely attempt to explore all the possibilities in a more or less objective way. (Recall that I accepted that it was possible that Mr. Lugovoy was involved in the murder and was involved on behalf of the Russian Federation. I listed this as one of the many possibilities. I merely tried to assign some reasonable probability to the various scenarios based on common sense, for example when I suggested only an idiot would spill the nuclear poison all over the place.)

But for your part you only offer one speculation after another in support of your position: Maybe the British do have some evidence, and we just don’t know about it; maybe even that evidence is an HDTV-quality video that shows Mr. Lugovoy slipping the mickie into Mr. Litvinenko’s tea. Yeah, okay, maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe… But if such statements are not conjecture and unfounded speculation on your part than what is.

Now I’ve written a lot of words on this subject, and the thought occurs to me that I can keep writing forever, and it’s unlikely to change your mind. The thought also occurs that nothing you can say will make me change my mind. The basic reason for this is that this case at its core is essentially political. I can say that if you tell me a person’s politics (whether he is pro-Russian or not), then I’ll tell you how he feels about this case, and I would not be far from the mark.

The fact is that BOTH SIDES are not clean in this and BOTH have something to hide. This should not set the stage for endless escalating mutual recriminations and finger pointing, like children. Neither side is going to be able to intimidate or bludgeon the other side into doing what it wants.

As I took pains to point out in my first letter, British-Russian relations (apart from the governments) are very important for both sides, and becoming more so. There are rapidly expanding trade and financial links, as well as expanding travel and tourism. Many Russian companies are listed on the London Stock Exchange.

These growing relations are important for both sides, and it is unlikely that either side really wants to escalate this row to the point of a complete break in diplomatic and other relations. It would be sheer lunacy. We should be able to just have a shot of vodka and move on… You agree or disagree?

What is needed at this point are not more tit-for-tat arguments or expulsions, but rather that both sides count to ten, take a deep breath, and take these issues out of the venue of blow-for-blow recrimination in the world’s media stage and into the back offices of quiet determined diplomacy. As the Russian Foreign Minister suggested, this is really the only productive way forward for us.

In my letter I was willing to grant some credence to legitimate British areas of concern: for example that they do not want murders in London streets to become something routine; the British want to send a strong message that such things are not acceptable, and if Moscow thinks it can get away with such things there will be a heavy price to pay. I think that message has been received. But I would hasten to add that it is not necessary for Moscow to admit to wrongdoing or “cry uncle” for it to say that it has received and acknowledged this message. (And Moscow could well be innocent of any involvement in this case, for all we know, at least based on the evidence presented, or rather the lack of evidence presented.)

It seems strange to me that this “crisis” began almost the day that Mr. Brown took office (if we think back to the original row over the Litvinenko affair). I can’t help but wonder if the Brown government really has a lot of depth to grasp the subtle nuances of foreign policy; everything is not always so black and white. But I will leave such speculations for another time, as I know the British government is the British government, and Moscow must accept it such as it is, not wishing for one more to its liking. (The same applies in reverse as well, of course.) But I certainly hope that there are at least some calm souls in this British government who are capable of seeing the wisdom of the Russian proposal to de-escalate this row.

Frankly the foreign policy team which Mr. Brown has assembled resembles something like a band of Puritan pilgrim crusaders freshly arrived at Number 10 Downing. But I must say that this is a somewhat absurd posture for a nation such as Great Britain which has as many foreign policy skeletons in its closet as it does.

Both sides need to exercise restraint and caution at this point, and realize their common interest is preventing this row from acquiring a life of its own and escalating like Frankenstein’s Monster beyond the point of usefulness to either side (which is practically where it is already).

I want to point out that I have already been carrying on this debate in another forum, in Russia Today (RT). (Rather than me copying and pasting all my posts from there, here’s the link.) No, this is not a “plug” to get people to leave here and go there, but there are a lot of people who have made interesting posts in that forum too, for those who are interested.

I will also make a link there in RT to this forum, if they let me (though anyone who knows about one of these forums probably already knows about both of them).

Lastly, I do respect your opinion and that you’ve taken the time to explain your positions to me. I think we are not enemies, but we are both civilized people.

-Misha

Misha said...

I wrote: Russia has said that if the British have any evidence of Mr. Lugovoy’s guilt that they should present it to Russian authorities. If Russian prosecutors conclude that the evidence is sufficient then they can bring charges against Lugovoy in Russia. The British have steadfastly refused to do that. Apparently they do not feel under obligation to present any evidence of Mr. Lugovoy’s actual guilt, even though he is a foreign citizen living in a foreign country.

You replied: No he is not a foreign citizen living in a foreign country; he is an assassin taking refuge in a country he escaped to. This is where the rule of law stuff comes from. The rule of law does NOT play the game you’re describing. The rule of law lets the process happen, and so normally they would turn him over since he is not a citizen, but an assassin. He would go to trial, the evidence would be presented and there would be the whole world watching.

Isn’t it obvious from the exchange above that I am merely leaving the door open to the possibility that Mr. Lugovoy might just be innocent, which is the minimum expectation of a “fair trial” (the presumption of innocence until evidence suggests otherwise).

In your reply you make clear that you’ve already tried and convicted Mr. Lugovoy, and he is an “assassin” (your word). You do not say that he is a “suspect” or “person of interest” or even “defendant.” No, in your mind Mr. Lugovoy has already attained the status of an assassin. So it is then obvious why you doubt the necessity for the British government to come up with some form of actual proof to justify an extradition hearing. But more to the point, never mind the need for proof at a mere extradition hearing, why even have a trial at all, if we already know Mr. Lugovoy is an assassin?

The simple fact is that Mr. Lugovoy is a citizen of the Russian Federation, not the UK, and he is currently residing in Russia, his home country. As such he is protected by the Russian Constitution, which forbids the extradition of Russian citizens to foreign countries under any circumstances. No, this is not some provision of the constitution that was put in at the last minute just to protect Mr. Lugovoy. has been in the constitution since the beginning, just like the article that says President Putin can’t stand for a 3rd term. You can argue that nations ought not to have such provisions in their constitutions, but Russia is not the only country with such a provision.

If you want Russia to remove this provision from its constitution, then the burden also falls on you to create a broad international framework for just and fair extraditions, which would also remove such provisions from the constitutions of other nations (such as Israel, to name but one other nation with an identical provision). Russia will not be intimidated by Gorton Brown into acting in ways that are manifestly contrary to its own national interests. Get over it already!

So what you demand, and even expect, is that the government of the Russian Federation should act lawlessly and contrary to its own written constitution. But for those nations which have written constitutions, unlike Britain which has none, it is understood that constitutional law is law of a higher order than a law which is merely ushered through a legislature. By definition, “constitutional” law is law which is not frequently changed or amended, and certainly never to satisfy the petty and unreasonable demands of a belligerent and hot-headed foreign power during a row.

I will come back to the basic and undeniable fact that Britain has steadfastly refused to provide Russia, or the world community at large, with one shard of evidence for the criminal claims they levy against Mr. Lugovoy. (This itself opens the British government up to counter-charges of liable and slander.)

But I will hasten to add that it would not matter if Britain did have such evidence, from the standpoint of Russian constitutional law. Such evidence (if it existed, which I am convinced it does not) would only form the basis for opening a criminal prosecution of Mr. Lugovoy in Russia, as the Russian side has already offered to the UK many times.

Therefore I don’t want my insistence that the British should show their evidence or else shut up to be construed as saying that is the only thing that would be needed (some British evidence), and then Mr. Lugovoy’s extradition to the UK could proceed apace. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mr. Lugovoy will not be extradited from Russia to any foreign venue under any circumstances, not due to the lack of evidence, but due to the fact that such an extradition directly contravenes the Constitution of the Russian Federation. That matter is closed and not open to discussion. Period.

I simply keep raising the issue of the lack of any evidence (or at least the consistent refusal of the British to show their evidence if they do have any) as only adding insult to injury.

It would be one thing for the UK to criticize a provision of the Russian constitution which prohibited the extradition of a Russian citizen, in the face of strong evidence of his guilt. But it only smacks of something absurd and almost surreal that the UK has the audacity as to demand that the Russian state lay violent hands on one of its citizens, against Russian constitution, and ship him off to the “gulag” in the United Kingdom on what cannot be substantiated as anything more than merely some “whim” on the British side.

Again (as I will keep saying), if Britain has some evidence of Mr. Lugovoy’s guilt then it is incumbent upon them to step forward with it. This is the only basis that any criminal proceeding can be brought against Lugovoy in Russia (and Russia is the only place where such an action can be legally brought, unless he agrees to leave). If Britain is still holding its breath and waiting for Russia to fork one of its citizens over, I will suggest that they will be waiting a very long time.

One issue here, which has not been much discussed but which I believe is important is the strong sense of emotional confusion and even angst with which Britain deals with extradition issues in general, due to the one-sided extradition treaty which the Blair government signed with the United States of America. This treaty is terrible from the perspective of the British government actually protecting the rights of British subjects (which is what its business ought to be). But instead of admitting this, Britain now views such an absurd model as somehow “universal,” or a part of “international law,” even so much so that this ridiculous extradition model is something that Britain now claims the right to unilaterally “impose" on other nations. The situation is similar to the man who is abused and humiliated at work by his boss, and who then goes home at night to kick his dog or beat his wife in retaliation. But Russia is not Britain’s wife, nor is Russia Britain’s dog, and Russia will not allow herself to be abused by the British in this manner.

As I pointed out earlier, the UK has no written constitution, unlike most other countries. Therefore the British subject can never be certain of what his rights are exactly (since nothing is written down). For example, the UK has negotiated “extradition treaties” with the USA and its other partners. This puts the UK in a difficult position, because the Americans have on several occasions received extradition requests from the US which have demanded that Britain turn over its subjects to the Americans, based on what can only be described as fairly “flimsy” evidence provided by the Americans. (The treaty is so one-sided in favor of the Americans that they practically don’t even feel any need to provide any evidence of guilt when demanding the British government to turn over one of its subjects to the yanks.)

This situation is even more stranger, because most law in the US is state law (not federal law). If one American state wants to extradite a person from another American state, there is a whole detailed and involved legal proceeding that must be followed. No American state will extradite anyone to face charges in another American state, without a hearing in a court of law, where it will be determined if there is enough evidence to extradite the accused. This holds true even in the most “obvious” criminal cases, where there is little doubt of the guilt of the accused. Now the accused can “waive” his right to an extradition hearing, if he so chooses, and this often happens. But he is under no obligation to do so, and if he refuses then the accusing state is under the obligation of putting its prosecutors on a plane and flying them to the other state to prove their case at an Extradition Hearting. Of course the prosecutors do not have to launch an entire trial, or present their entire case at the hearing. But at a minimum they must convince the judge at the hearing that there is sufficient evidence of guilt that the accused should be extradited.

Let’s say a person commits a murder in Georgia, and he flees to his mother’s home in North Carolina. If you think Georgian (or American federal) officials can simply come and scoop him up you would be completely wrong. The would-be prosecutors must formally request his extradition. Such cases are not uncommon at all and happen every day. In this case the accused will be taken into custody and he will be brought to an extradition hearing (which is mandatory before the accused can be transferred to another state). The accused will be asked if he needs legal council. He will be asked if he chooses to contest his extradition or not. If he does not contest it then he would be extradited forthwith. However if he does contest the extradition, then Georgian officials must argue the case for extradition in a formal hearing, and yes, they are required to show their evidence, they cannot simply sit there arrogantly and say “trust us.”

Now all of this creates the rather absurd situation where if a British Subject commits a crime in the United States (or is merely accused of it), he is safer to flee to another US state than to flee back to his home country, the UK. In fact any American state will grant a British subject a higher level of legal protection than his own country will. If that is not a travesty of justice for the British subjects, then what is?

In fact due to Britain’s “Treaty of Extradition” with the US, the British side essentially grants the benefit of the doubt to the American side, and will extradite any British citizen to the US based on nothing more than the whim of an American prosecutor.

One does not have to be a rocket scientist to deduce that when there are no obstacles in the way of prosecutors routinely requesting extradition, then they will tend to request extradition much more frequently and routinely than they would if they were under the burden of showing some actual evidence.

Generally extradition is understood as the process whereby a person is sent from one legal jurisdiction to another to stand trial for crimes committed in the later jurisdiction. No court would permit extradition based on flimsy evidence or only because a prosecutor was on a “fishing expedition” to try to develop further evidence. The prosecutor is under the obligation of showing substantial cause (if not air-tight proof) of the guilt of the accused, before any extradition request can be granted. If it was otherwise, then prosecutors would routinely request extradition merely for the sake of convenience. (e.g., “it is easier and more convenient to fetch the subject here to our state than for us to go there and interview him, even if we really have no evidence that he is guilty of anything.”)

For example, let’s say an American man lives in the US state of Illinois, and he is at a college party in Indiana. During this party some crime occurs (it does not matter what). Now the American travels back to his home state in Illinois (and it doesn’t even need to be his home state), but prosecutors want to question him in Indiana, simply because they want to question him about what he may have seen or witnessed. Perhaps the prosecutors even think he might know something about who did it (whether it is true or not). It is clear that they would prefer to simply “extradite” the man from Illinois to Indiana, especially if there was some more-or-less “automatic” procedure for doing such an extradition already in place, and there was no legal test that the prosecutors were required to meet.

Under US law it would be impossible for Indiana investigators to extradite the man, with “no questions asked.” If they requested extradition, then the man would be arrested in Illinois, by Illinois officials. But at his extradition hearing he most certainly would not wave his rights (since he is not guilty of anything). Instead he would demand that Indiana prosecutors “go through the motions” of actually sending a lawyer from the Indiana prosecutor’s office to Illinois, to attend the extradition hearing to “prove” the basis for the extradition, to the satisfaction of the Illinois court. Believe me it will not be sufficient for them to say merely that something happened back in Indiana (no matter what it was) and that this man is a “person of interest” whom they would like to interview. That is not what “extradition” is all about! They would be laughed out of court with such a case.

No, if they want to interview our man, then they know where they can find him (in Illinois, where he lives). And when Indiana investigators come to Illinois they are only “guests” in that state, like anyone else, and do not carry their law enforcement powers with them.

Now of course if Indiana prosecutors had some actual evidence against the man (and it does not take a huge amount of evidence, but at least some, to justify an extradition), then things would be different: They could present that evidence to the court; this would at least show a just cause to the judge that there was a sufficient basis for our man to be returned to Indiana to stand trial. (It is not necessary for the Indiana prosecutors to fully convict the man right there in the extradition hearing, but they at least must show just cause for extradition.)

In the case of the British request (or shall we call it a hysterical demand) for the so-called “extradition” of the Russian citizen Mr. Lugovoy, it is precisely this “just cause” that Britain arrogantly and obstinately refuses to show.

Are you trying to argue that the relations between American states (let alone between sovereign nations such as the UK and the RF) should be conducted on some “other” basis than what I have just described above? If so WHAT? What basis for extradition is the UK willing to agree with Russia which the British are also willing to apply in both directions?

Or do you British simply assume you can sit back in your easy chair and bark “orders” at the Russian government, that it must lay violent hands on one of its own citizens, and deliver him to you, based only on your whim (sans a shard of actual evidence), while you yourselves roll out a red carpet for every gold-toothed Russian gangster-oligarch, and Chechen terrorists, and absolutely refuse to turn them over to Russia, even after Russian prosecutors have invested hundreds of hours in writing detailed briefs outlining the crimes of the accused?

Now I will say again that from a legal standpoint it does not matter whether Britain is willing to show such cause or not, because Mr. Lugovoy is a Russian citizen and he is protected by Article 61 of the Russian Constitution, which bars any Russian citizen from being extradited to a foreign country under any circumstances (period). But what this British obstinacy does show is that Russia is not only dealing with the normal arrogance of some state that would expect Russia to violate its own foundational law for the convenience of that state, but Russia is dealing with arrogance that is remarkable and extraordinary in every way. The British demands are absurd on their face.

Britain and the Russian Federation are not two American states, which exist together within the same constitutional and legal framework, with orderly and settled laws for handling extradition cases. Rather they are completely sovereign, separate and independent nations. Extradition treaties are things to be negotiated between sovereign states, not something presumed to exist between states in international law by default.

The notion that the UK can claim that it has an extradition treaty with the RF, which holds the RF to a lower standard of protecting the Russian accused than exists within the USA, between its various states, is something that is so totally without any foundation, that such a claim really cannot be taken seriously and can only be construed as a rank provocation by the British against the Russian side.

There simply is no basis for such a claim by the British side: Zero. Nada. None. Period. It does not exist anywhere except in the British imagination and the British arrogance. There is no treaty, no agreement, no law and nothing that confirms such a bizarre and distorted perception of the basic relations between the UK and the RF.

But as I said, in order to truly understand the British position it is not enough to merely look at the surface appearances of things. It’s almost impossible to miss the fact for the British side there is much more tied up in the outcome of this crisis than meets the eye. As I suggested before, Britain is going through something like an existential crisis over this affair. Britain is in the midst of an identity crisis and the British actions and statements should not be analyzed with reference to Russia (as a mere external party), as much as they must be understood in the context of the crisis of existential-psychological angst that Britain is undergoing internally.

How else can anyone really claim to explain how it is that a nation with such a proud and long history of “rule of law” can suddenly be reduced to what more closely resembles a raving lunatic, with no legal basis for its claims other than its own arrogant insistence on its own say-so? Outside of the explanation that I am offering here it simply makes no sense.

As I pointed out before, Britain, unlike Russia, the United States and most other countries, is a country that has no written constitution. What this means is that British subject really have to guaranteed set of absolute rights, based on law, such a constitution would confer. I am not saying Britons have no rights, because they certainly do; but I am saying that Britons have no fundamental set of guaranteed rights, which cannot be easily taken away from them, such as those rights conferred to American citizens in the US Bill of Rights, or to citizens of the Russian Federation in its own written constitution.

Perhaps it is something like “penis envy” that Britain feels each time Russia insists against that it cannot extradite one of its citizens because the Russian constitution forbids it.

What this means is that the British government is free to eliminate or negotiate away the rights of British subjects, as suits the current government. We have already seen this happen, precisely in the stupid and one-sided British “extradition treaty” with the USA. It has been mentioned in the British media that the treaty is very one-sided, making it much easier for US prosecutors to extradite a British subject than it is for a British prosecutor to extradite a US citizen. (This is because the constitutional basis of US citizens’ rights cannot simply be negotiated away by the US side in an international treaty. An American would be able to challenge it in a US court, up to the Supreme Court.)

So Britain has gotten itself into a one-sided extradition treaty with the Americans. It can be argued that the American side can and indeed does abused its authority under the treaty in several instances. (I believe these cases were well reported in British media so I won’t make this letter longer than it already is with the details.)

Perhaps the British government trusts the American system of justice to such a degree that the British are willing to trust the extradition requests of American prosecutors implicitly (sans any evidence), even more so than the American states apparently trust each other (with the level of trust that a woman needs to have before she will allow a man to enter her from behind); but in no case does the Russian Federation have such trust for the justice system of the United Kingdom. In fact Russia has never even been approached by the UK with so much as the suggestion that Russia should enter into such a one-sided extradition treaty with Britain; and if Russia were approached by the British with such a suggestion, the British negotiators would come flying out the door head first, and their briefcases would cone tumbling out after them!

In any case, the government of the Russian Federation is precluded from entering into such a treaty with the UK even if it wanted to, by virtue of the Russian Constitution, which reads: “The citizen of the Russian Federation may not be deported out of Russia or extradited to another state.” (Yeah, that’s a period “.”  at the end there.)

One essential aspect of the British nation and the British psyche is the notion that Britain and her people are somehow “superior” to most of not all of the rest of the world. Perhaps this idea is rooted in the centuries of British rule of a large part of the world, such as occurred during the now forgotten British Empire. Even though the British Empire is now long gone, and new quasi-empires have emerged to take its place, such as the American one, the British have never completely dropped the basic psychological (and often subconscious) assumption that they are somehow “superior” to most people and most nations. A given British subject might be only an ashbin man, but he certainly still feels this implicit British assumption of superiority. For the British they are the “ruling nation,” and the rest of the world are the “colonials”, or even the “savages.” (Which is I’m sure the category that they assign to Russia.) This arrogant attitude persists in the British psyche to this day, even though the objective material and historical foundation for it has disappeared from the globe quite some time ago. To some extent the so-called “special relationship” between the UK and the USA has enabled the British nation to cling to its fantasy of ruling the world much longer than would otherwise have been the case.

Even though no one in Britain would dare to argue that the UK is stronger than the USA, there is still a pervasive feeling among the British that even if the US happens to be stronger that they (the British) are still smarter, and they are the tail that wags the dog. Here we can see that old British arrogance even in a relationship where clearly they are inferior party.

This sense of “superiority” is simply so pervasive and such a part of the British national psyche that it can reasonably be said that it colors every aspect of British interactions with the rest of the world.

Why would we assume that British relations with Russia would be immune to this arrogant British presumption of national superiority? Indeed it is quite clear that they are not immune, as we are all witnesses to this unfolding row, which in the final analysis is nothing more than a vapor if it is not an expression of British national arrogance.

The current “globalization” of the world has ushered in many changes. The world where everything had its place and where there was a sense of settled order is disappearing, and in its place a new world has arrived, which is essentially characterized by the intense economic competition of “all against all.” The old moorings of nation, church, family are no longer adequate for the individual or for a country.

Britain for its part takes a great deal of pride in the fact that it has been able to adapt to this new global world (perhaps more so than some of its continental neighbors). Britain has not only been able to adapt and survive the changes wrought by globalization, but arguably it has been able to prosper during these times of change.

It is with some justification that the British can take pride in the degree to which they’ve adapted themselves and their economy to the challenges of globalization. However, the forces unleashed by globalization are by no means a spent force, and as much change and dislocation as has already taken place, the continued advance of globalization means that there will be even more dislocation and change. We’ve only seen “round one” of it, in fact. It is not certain yet whether Britain will be able to handle the next round of global change.

What is certain is that the world which is presently emerging will be one in which British power is greatly if not wholly diminished. Even the British “special relationship” with the US is no insurance against this reality, because as many commentators have pointed out, the power of the American Empire itself has already entered into a prolonged by dramatic phase of abrupt decline. As the American decline continues, it is not likely that the Americans will become more magnanimous or generous with their “partners,” but rather, as we’ve seen, it is far more likely that the Americans will only become even more desperate and even sociopathic in their relations towards other nations.

I would agree that the UK has done a rather admirable job of adapting to the challenges of globalization, at least to date. But what is by no means clear is whether Britain will be able to adapt to the new world that is presently emerging, even as I type this letter.

The new world will not be a world with one giant overweight American empire at its center (and with Britain as the junior partner of that empire, or at least having a key to its dog’s house). The coming world will not have only one pole of power, but rather it will have multiple poles. China, India, Brazil, Russia are fast increasing their relative power in the world. The shift of military and political power will not come about because Russia, China or any other country wills it, but it will come about because economic and military power follows economic power as surely as night follows day, and the economic center of the world is fast shifting away from its old foundations to new foundations. Like all such global changes it is almost imperceptible as it is taking place, but clearly perceptible in retrospect, such as watching the hour hand on a clock move.

Here I will make my final point… I do not think that Britain is psychologically prepared to deal with Russia at the level of equals, even though the basic reality is that they have no choice. As the Russian government has pointed out, Russia is not a banana republic and the Russian government does not exist to do Britain’s bidding. The arrogant assumptions of the British, and their automatic presumption of superiority, even when they are standing on a chair with no legs (making “legal arguments” under “international law” that are not only invalid, but even absurd on their face) only serves to make the British look basically ridiculous and absurd. Sure, they can go crying to their American patrons, and at least for now the Americans will still kiss their sore and at least make them feel better, but it cannot change the fact that the Americans and the British are both sinking in the same boat together.

The British feel better if they can feel superior to the Russians. This is so true that we can almost say that this feeling of superiority has almost become a psychological need or crutch for the British national psyche. After all, the British say, if we are not better than the Russian than who are we better than? For the British the Russians are those savages who only descended from the trees around Moscow maybe 50 or 100 years ago. Britain still hasn’t come to grips with the fact that the Russia is already one of the richest countries in the world, with many times more millionaires in Moscow than in London. (And many of the millionaires who do live in London, if not most of them, are Russian too.) The days of communism are long gone as are the early days of the transition, during the 1990’s, when it seemed it would take Russia 100 years to fully recover. Now Russia is a large, strong, vibrant country, which is growing at a rapid pace and which has a stable political system.

But now I’ve said a lot, and I hope no one will conclude from my remarks above that I dislike the British. On the contrary, I respect and admire them.

Now I think you can see from my remarks above why both sides in this row should try to keep a calm head and not to take some position from which they cannot pull back from. Britain and the Russian Federation have more to lose than to gain from a breakdown in relations. Calmer heads should prevail and both sides should enter into quiet diplomacy over these issues. I hope my words of peace above were helpful in soothing the British nerves over this unfortunate incident and we can soon put all this behind us. I know that anyone can answer to the specific points which I have made above, and we can argue all these things back and forth. But honesty what is the point of it? At some point we must both just resolve to get along again, instead of always trying to have the last word.

-Misha

Concerned Citizen said...

Misha:

I'm going to have a bumper sticker made to remind people like you of something important:

"Use polonium - go to prison!"

This was not a diplomatic incident, or a "misunderstanding of the rules". It was a crime. And if they ever get their hands on Lugovoi, Britain's law enforcement authorities are going to prosecute it as such, regardless of what it costs Britain in its relationship with Russia. That's because in the West, unlike in Russia, the State doesn't intervene to stop investigations or prosecutions that may be inconvenient for diplomatic relations. Lugovoi had no diplomatic immunity. Hence, he is prosecutable for crimes committed in the UK. So Russia Today, and you, can save your breath in trying to spin this incident in such a way that the whole thing eventually goes away.

The only way this thing is going to go away is if Russia hands over Lugovoi to stand trial. Will that cause Lugovoi to squeal like a pig, uraveling a conspiracy that probably extends to the highest levels of the Kremlin? Probably. Would that bring down the Russian government? Don't be silly; Russia is full of people just like you, who could care less if the Russian government whacked some turncoat spy in a foreign country. Will it affect Russia's standing in the world? Yeah, but not much more that it already has, and is.

OK, maybe there is one other option for ending the crisis: if Lugovoi were to die "of natural causes". And if I were Lugovoi, I would be very concerned of this possibility.

misha said...

The British request to extradite Mr. Lugovoi cannot be fulfilled by the government of the Russian Federation, because Article 61 of the Russian constitution prohibits the Russian government from extraditing a citizen of the Russian Federation; Article 61 reads: “A citizen of the Russian Federation may not be expelled from the Russian Federation or extradited to another state.”

It is not necessary for Russia to add anything further to this explanation. There is no basis in international law for the British to object. There currently is no extradition treaty in effect between the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation. Russia has no obligation to arrest any Russian citizen and deliver him or her to the British authorities under any circumstances, regardless of the nature of the allegations against that citizen.

If the British government is convinced that Mr. Lugovoi committed a crime that falls within British judicial jurisdiction, then there are a number of avenues that they can pursue:

1) The British government can present the evidence of Mr. Lugovoi’s guilt to Russian prosecutors. If the evidence is deemed sufficient then Mr. Lugovoi can be tried in a Russian court of law for the crimes the British allege he has committed.

It should be noted that Article 61 (and almost identical provisions in most other nations’ constitutions) are not intended to protect guilty persons from prosecution. If a person is alleged to have committed some crime in a foreign jurisdiction, and fled to Russia to avoid prosecution, that person can certainly be tried in Russia for those alleged crime(s).

The Russian side has offered this way forward to the British government since the start of this row. But the British have declined this option and they’ve steadfastly refused to show the evidence against Mr. Lugovoi that they might have (if indeed they do have any).

Unfortunately the window of opportunity for exercising this option is now closed, at least temporarily, because Mr. Lugovoi has been elected to the Russian State Duma in the last round of Duma elections. (Note: he was not elected on the party list of the United Russia party, the main ruling party headed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, but rather he was elected on the party list of one of the nationalistic minority Duma parties.)

Unfortunately the hysterical British politicization of this affair has lead to a strong reaction and anger among certain elements in the Russian electorate, which the nationalist political elements in Russia have sought to exploit for their own gain.

Under the current conditions where the British government has launched a crusade of anti-Russian hysteria surrounding this affair, adding Mr. Lugovoi to a party list was a way for these right-wing elements to garnish more votes in the Russian Duma elections, and they were quite successful in this.

The situation is not unlike that of former Marine Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North in the USA. Even after he was convicted of violating US federal laws, that rogue North became a Cause Célèbre for certain “conservative” and reactionary elements in the American electorate. They later sponsored Mr. North’s campaign to win a US Senate seat in the state of Virginia. In North’s case his Senate bid was ultimately unsuccessful; but in Lugovoi’s case his bid for a Duma seat was successful.

In no case can the Russian government be held accountable or responsible for this outcome, as it was not the Russian government which escalated the affair to the level of an “international incident” nor was it the Russian side which interjected elements of nationalistic hysteria into this affair.

It would be correct to say that the British government was able to launch Mr. Lugovoi’s political career in Russia quite without the help of Mr. Putin or the Kremlin. (And Russian security services should not exclude that something that was possibly even intended by the British all along.) Indeed well-placed officials in the Kremlin have even expressed their displeasure with this outcome. If Mr. Lugovoi is the new “hero” in Russia, it is certainly not the Kremlin which gave him this status, but it is the British government, through their arrogant campaign anti-Russian hysteria.

If the British government keeps this nonsense up, we could well see Mr. Lugovoi running against Dmitry Medvedev, President Putin's chosen successor, for President of the Russian Federation.

Unfortunately, the Russian constitution, like that of many other nations, prohibits the launching of criminal proceedings against a sitting Duma member. The purpose of this provision is to protect Duma members from politically-motivated “criminal” prosecutions by the ruling authorities. The constitutional assumption is that Russian legislators should be able to legislate freely, without worrying that they could become the victim of politically-inspired “criminal” prosecutions by the ruling party. For this reason the Russian Constitution grants sitting members of the Duma immunity from prosecution for as long as they hold office. Again this is not a provision that was rushed through only to protect Mr. Lugovoi, but it is a provision which has existed in Russia’s constitution from the beginning (and which also exists in the constitution of many other nations – Italy for example.)

Unfortunately under the current circumstances, the window of opportunity which would have enabled Mr. Lugovoi to be prosecuted in Russia for the crimes that the British government alleges that he committed in their jurisdiction is now closed, and it will remain closed for as long as Russian voters keep returning Lugovoi to the Russian Duma.

However it is unlikely that Mr. Lugovoi’s name will be so useful on a party list in the future, especially if the current hysteria surrounding this affair dies down. So the possibility of some future prosecution in Russia cannot be precluded.

2) The British Government can request that Mr. Lugovoi return to face trial in Britain voluntarily. If he is willing to go freely, to attempt to prove his innocence and clear his name, then the Russian side would have no basis for objecting.

3) The British government could try some sort of “commando-style” raid inside Russia to abduct Mr. Lugovoi and bring him to the UK against his will. It should be noted that such a British government military operation conducted against the territory of the Russian Federation would be construed as an act of war and the RF would respond in kind with a retaliatory military attack without hesitation.

4) The British could patiently wait in the hope that they might be able to intercept Mr. Lugovoi in some cooperative third-country, perhaps when he is 99 years old, as we recently saw in the case of the CIA-installed former dictator of Chile, Augusto Pinochet. Perhaps the British security services might be able to lure Mr. Lugovoi back to the UK, or to a 3rd country, with a clever young-tart-seeks-old-fart campaign or something. But I seriously doubt if Lugovoi would fall for it since his background is KGB and all KGB are trained not to be deceived by a woman. Also, when Mr. Lugovoi was asked by the Russian media about the possiblity of being nabbed while traveling abroad, Mr. Lugovoi said, “I like it here… Why would I go somewhere else?”

I hope my letter is helpful as I am trying to offer real and constructive ways forward for an ending of this affair before it goes any further in causing permanent harm to bi-lateral relations between the UK and RF than it already has.

-Misha

misha said...

“Finding a trail of a rare radioactive substance that costs more than a million dollars for a lethal dose is not circumstantial… how is it circumstantial… if not him then who at the restaurant did it? Someone else… ok… if someone else, then how did they ride the same plane? Maybe a second person traveling with polonium in their pocket, and the same specific isotope happened to be on the plane that he flew on.”

Well Mr. Lugovoy has always maintained that there were other people present at all his meetings with Mr. Litvinenko. These rather shady characters were not introduced to Mr. Lugovoy, and he just assumed they were British security services. (As Lugovoy was in London for the purpose of being recruited into anti-Russian black ops by a turncoat ex-KGB man who defected from Russia to the UK, that would seem to be a reasonable assumption… Hard to believe it would all be going on in London, without the knowledge and consent of British intel.)

So it could have been any one of them who planted the polonium mickey in Litvinenko’s tea. In fact that was precisely Lugovoy’s main argument to the Russian investigators: They (the British) did it and now they were trying to pin it on Lugovov, and on the Russian government by extension.

But maybe the assumption that these other unnamed Shady characters present at all the meetings were British secret services was simply wrong; maybe they were really only associates of Boris Berezovsky. Mr. Litvinenko was a known associate of Berezovsky in London.

Perhaps Litvinenko was simply boasting that he was doing all this in collusion with British intelligence, but it wasn’t really true. (If nothing else Litvinenko had a flair for the dramatic, and a tendency to embellish things a bit, as was seen from his book.)

So it could be that the dark unnamed figures present at all the meetings really weren’t British Intel at all, but Lugovoy was under the honest impression that they were, and he reported that back to Moscow. Who they were we don’t know. But obviously any one of them could have done it.

You make a big fuss over the fact that polonium is expensive, with a lethal dose costing over a million dollars. But that is based on multiplying the tiny trace quantities which can be bought over an American website, at full retail prices, times the amount necessary to kill a man. Obviously the killer did not buy his polonium that way; he simply got someone to buy it on the black market (probably a nuclear industry worker, since the stuff is made in atomic power plants). He may have gotten a lethal does for $5k or less.

I agree with you that the average mugger would not go through the trouble of using polonium. But that completely misses the point. I did not suggest that that a street mugger did the murder. I suggested that it could have been Boris Berezovsky. Clearly this Russian gangster-oligarch had access to the funds to get whatever he wanted, and he could get a lethal does of polonium from Russia for a lot less than a million dollars (not that a million dollars would be more than pocket change for the billionaire tycoon).

The motive would have been to frame the Russian government; something that Boris Berezovsky has a huge incentive to do. Nothing would please Boris Berezovsky more than something which would harm Russian-Western relations. We must keep in mind that Boris Berezovsky stood on a London street and declared that it was his intention to finance a violent overthrow of the Russian government and install himself in power there. How can you possibly think that such a man could not engage in such a plot or commit the murder of one of his underlings to further his aims?

As far as the polonium being found on the plane which Lugovoy took back to Moscow...? You cite that as the “smoking gun” that convicts Mr. Lugovoy. But keep in mind that polonium was not only found in the plane, but in the person of Mr. Lugovoy, as it was also found on several of the restaurant workers and other people who had contact with Mr. Litvinenko that evening. Mr. Lugovoy, for his part, says that only proves that he was a victim of the poising too. Clearly Mr. Lugovoy does not deny that he was with Mr. Litvinenko on the evening when he was poisoned. Is it possible hat because the two men were sitting in the same restaurant booth, at the same table, and eating, drinking, talking, smoking, that Lugovoy could have gotten a small part of the dose intended for Litvinenko? Is it possible that the traces found in the aircraft came from Lugovoy’s clothes?

If you’ve ever seen someone drop mercury, you know it forms into a million tiny little particles, and they can be spread all over the place as each particle breaks into a thousand smaller ones again and again. It is said that polonium disburses like mercury, only more so. So clearly, if someone dumped a vial of polonium somewhere, traces of the stuff would get spread far and wide.

A key thing about polonium is that it does not pass through human skin. It is incredibly toxic, and a miniscule dose is lethal, but it must be absorbed through the stomach, not the skin. Therefore Mr. Lugovoy could have had quite a bit of polonium on his clothes, even on his skin, and it would not have been fatal to him unless he ingested it somehow.

I’m not saying it could not have been easily fatal, if he touched his mouth, or the areas where he had it on him, and then ate some food, of course.

I would not doubt that whoever poisoned Mr. Litvinenko that night could have dumped a quantity of polonium onto Mr. Lugovoy’s jacket as well, knowing that he would then track it back to his hotel, the airline, etc., leaving a trail all the way back to Moscow.

Again, the fact that there IS such a haphazard and careless trail of polonium does not suggest to me that Mr. Lugovoy came over with a vial of deadly polonium, under KGB instructions, and that he and the KGB were simply so inept and ignorant that somehow they carelessly spilled this toxic nuclear stuff all over the place. It just defies logic. What Mr. Lugovoy is saying is more plausible, which is that he was also a victim. Whoever killed Litvinenko also got the poison on Mr. Lugovoy. It was found everywhere he went because it was all over him, not because it was safely tucked in a vial inside his coat.

Let’s say the Russian FBI (the FSB) gave Mr. Lugovoy a vial of incredibly toxic nuclear polonium to put into the drink of a turncoat former KGB spy. He would certainly want instructions for the proper handling of the dangerous material. He would want some assurance that he would not poison himself in the process of trying to poison the mark. Of course it would also be in the interests of the FSB to give Lugovoy this training and instruction too, lest he carelessly poison himself before he even got there, and be found dead in an airline rest room, with his underwear around his ankles and a vial of pure Russian polonium spilled all over the floor. I just don’t buy your theory that Lugovoy was just playing with the polonium; horsing around with it in the plane; "practicing” with it; opening the container to see what it smelled like; shaking up the bottle; tossing it in the air and catching it again; seeing how hard he could bite down on the vial without cracking it, etc. It simply makes no sense. They would have communicated to him the toxicity of this substance, and the need to be extremely careful until he was ready to use it.

On the other hand, if someone got the stuff on Mr. Lugovoy or on his coat or his clothes, intentionally or otherwise, then he would tend to track it everywhere, leave traces everywhere; it just makes sense. Mr. Lugovoy wouldn’t even know that he had it on him, so he could hardly take any precautions, could he?

Artfldgr said...

finally met someone wordier than me... but while i may be wordy, i do follow good practices... while you my friend, have a form of logoreah.


In this supposedly “free” and “open” society that you make such much fuss about, there is no reason why the facts known in a criminal case should not be brought to the fore.

Except that by doing so, you can establish a pot of information that only the investigators, the victim and the perpetrator knows.

Its not that the information doesn’t get out, its that it doesn’t get out immediately as the case is developed.

Your statement relies on an legendary ignorance of law, and such… which makes sense if you come from a country that is that way, and like a cargo cult only has a image false front of law. To a culture like that, their ineffective and false law looks the same as the actual meritocritous law, but operates poorly. Just as cargo cult natives airports never attracted airplanes to land… they thought that their airports were the same, and would use their knowledge of their fake ones to draw conclusions as to the real ones.

Their conclusions though make no sense. you see, that’s how bad the other system is. your used to that system exposing incriminating evidence out of hand rather than attempt to do so orderly so as to ascertain the truth and validity.

In russia, truth and validity have no meaning other than if they are currently useful and expedient. and so telling a lie or truth as to someones guilt and the evidence insures that the public thinks them guilty, and so the trial later is a forgone conclusion.

This is why you don’t trust the western system. you kow that your system is a sham, but you don’t know why it is. you think that our system that has the same trappings is the same sham, and neither side will admit it.

And your hungry for the other side to behave like the sham side your comfortable with, and that you have all the neat explanations lined up that stop you ffrom thinking about it.

Such actions and behaviors come from legendary ignorance.. how could the police figure out whether a phone call claiming to be a witness is truthful if all the information is public?

Here, maybe your little tiny mind can understand it this way.

Someone loses an expensive diamond ring. The police find it. they print the location and ALL the details of the case in the paper asking “anyone with information as to the owner to come claim it”. the next day, 300 people show up and there is no way for the police to know which of the three hundred the ring actually belongs to.

That’s how stupid you are. and starting sentences with an authoritative “in fact”, when your not speaking facts but opinion, doesn’t convert them to facts either.

Sheesh.


In fact, in the absence of British willingness to show the world the evidence, we are not allowed to assume that the evidence exists, but the British just prefer to sit on it. The logical assumption is that they don’t have it.

Can we play poker together… please please please? I need the money.

Lets imagine you’re a virgin… you have a situation in which a certain state is either a yes, you are a virgin, or no you are not.

Should a virgin walk around with no underwear and her legs spread around just so the world will believe her? is it the worlds business?

Is it India, chinas, united states, japan, Honduras, and all their interests?

What it does is make a farce of law… and you are either too stupid to realize that, or know that such stupidty works.

They did present the evidence… to the authorities asking for it. the authorities asking for it, have denied the evidence summarily out of hand.

Stalemate that has nothing to do with the evidences validity, existence etc.

And russias behavior tactically works (strategically its bad)… you cant see the tactic, but I can.


The tactic is to give the army of useful idiots like you something to carry into your little tiny battles… that’s how stupid you are. you cant fathom why they are doing what they are doing, because you cant examin your own behavior, and their actions influence on them.

Think about it.. the incident and its handling was to mobilize YOU… like an army of tiny termites each taking a bite. And everyone of them with a big sign on their forhead SUCKER!!!

And the reason you fight so hard, and such, with a mish mosh of non facts, emotive assertions, and contradictions… is that if you don’t do that, and they convince you as too the truth…

You then wasted a lot of your life… so, by doing this you protect your life, in your mind, from being wasted..

You protect yourself from the truth that your being used, that your facts don’t add up, and making a dearth of them so its very complex, doesn’t make them add up either. After all, there are smarter people to which that complexity is not inscrutable… but then, you have to figure out whether they are telling the truth to you, or lying…

And you cant… your brain doesn’t have that capacity… which is why you argue the way you do.. and don’t probe… you don’t pick your sources other than they confirm your side… you don’t care whether they are good or bad, lying or truthful, as long as they are authoritatively in print and seem to be valid.


I have little time for this… as the discussion will not get anywhere… it cant… your whole life is wrapped up in the answer…

My life is not… being in a free country I can choose to walk away… the result makes no difference to me… if russia is a despotic bad place… I don’t live there, and so what does that mean? If russia is a utopia, and all the bad stuff is apropaganda so it doesn’t get crowded… I don’t live ther,e and I am not moving there, so what does that mean?

My only thing that makes a difference to me is that the facts are all straight… which is why you will see me give either side flack for games. As I did when an article claimed the darkest times of stalins era when its not. as much as they were dark, stating something that was a nothing is the same is not truthful.


Your logic is faulty… you are talking aobut law, and you have no idea the principals behind it. among the blind the one eyed man is king… but among the sighted you’re a blithering idiot.

Most don’t find that out till they come out, and try to be good little warriors.. then they start to find out that theinformation they have been fed was a lie. That the facts are different… and the view starts to crumble.

I will say that one can read literally a hundred books on useful idiots figuring it out and being in the same place you are… however, being braver than you, and going forth realizeing that they ahv been tricked.

But they had achoice, as do you… you can respond to the cognitive dissonance by trying to argue with incomplete information, and making false points and trying to keep your shell around you.

Or you can be like them and you can accept that you have been conned and start to learn the game so that they don’t con you more. either way leads to a personal sense of satisfaction, but one is a delusion.

I will say that you cant find that same 100 books that detail how they were dupped by capitalism… from anarchists, feminists, and even the greenies… the greenies don’t even realize that the party they are supporting is the modern extension of hitlers national socialists… but they don’t read the writings, they are like you, they just listen to what they say they are doing, and never ever compare that to what you see them doing.

With their having your attention so fixed on the other… your own home can burn down and you wont notice is.

You haven’t figured that they are misdirecting you like a majician does. that your directed to focus your attention on the false hoods that theya re feeding you about the west, and the dissonance has you marching out and keeping yourself occupied as to the cause..

But you refuse to self examinate… you refuse to pay attention to the whole magician and not what they are tlling you to look at.

Even if you do see something wrong. you twist it so that it seems right. Like your doing with your inane concepts of law.

Your argument style is dumb leftist.. say anything that comes to mind that it might stick to the wall… not actually construct a cogent article on real facts.

And trying to turn the thing around… doesn’t work either.

In fact, the British have a lot to hide about this case, such as the details of what exactly was Mr. Litvinenko’s relationship with British secret services. Clearly this relationship would be highly relevant in any “fair” trial of Mr. Lugovoy, since Lugovoy claims he was summoned to London by Litvinenko for an alleged “business meeting.”

That’s trying to turn it around… its distracting us from the SOLID and now confirmed fact that the other was a KGB man.

In essence your saying… its really meaningful that person 1 might have a relationship with british intelligence…

And its really of no consequence that person 2 actually HAS a relationship with Russian intelligence.

This even confounds the difference… british intelligence has never done the kinds of things that kgb, smersh, stasi, and such have done.

The KGB murdered stalin… they used American and other soldiers as guinea pigs.. the list goes on.

May I ask for one equivalent?

How about the systematic terror and murder of millions of their own people, and murdering people by the hundreds in other countries for political gain?

How many of those things did England do too?


So not only are you trying to have us ignore that BOTH were state operatives, but that one is a representative and being protected by the exceedingly nastier of the two.

Not only that… but that the issue is ANOTHER example of the exceedingly nasty nature of that other side!!!!

You have whats commonly called in medical circles as a “thought process disorder”


But who are you fooling? Due to “Official Secrets Act” and other British laws, nothing will be allowed to come out in a British court that could compromise British National Security (read the secrets of British security services). Every time the defendant brings up Litvinenko’s connections to British Intelligence, the drapes will be pulled over the courtroom, and no one will be permitted to know what is going on inside.

That’s an assumption. It ignores history. What about philby? What about the hansons? What about the mcarthy stuff?

Why weren’t those conveniently handled as you say?

Your making a blind assertion again as to the type of case and court it is. it’s a murder case… how does anything in it have anything to do with national secrets protection?

In fact, wouldn’t that make more sense if litvenenko was not allowed to talk, give interviews, write articles, and books on these ‘secrets’?

The ONLY time that such a curtain is drawn is if there is some other pressing investigation that it will compromise. But other than the person coming to the UK to poison someone, there ARE no security secrets.

Here are the issues… a person was murdered by ingesting polonium… the ONLY question that can be before the court is: did the accused comit the act.

How does state secrets get into this? that implies that the condition of russia where a state secret is anything they want, and so anything they don’t want is an issue like that…

The condition of the west is that they would have to prove that the state secret is germain and critical to the case, and then show that exposing such would compromise something. Then just that testimony would be allowed behind closed doors.

The whole case wouldn’t. again.. your taking your russian false and state controlled systm and believe they are all the same.

You can read the trials of people who actually DID hace state secrets and that the secrets were germain to the case… like selling secrets… they get tried publicly.

Very little can fall under the rubric that your claiming is a fait accompli.


Instead of having the “fair and open trial,” proposed in your hypothetical “open Britain,” what we are far more likely to see is mostly a secret trial, where important facts are kept hidden by the British state, and where the rest of the world may never even know what the main evidence against Mr. Lugovoy.

Now that’s a funky switch… britian is hypothetical, but your hypothetical assumptive is concrete..

You are dictating… you are saying with certainty of truth what is only a blind assumption. No wonder you cant understand anything.

Britain IS an open society… Russia by its own statements and actions is a closed society (the door half open compared to it being completely shut is still closed and not open).

Read your own statements to see what you actually think..

“your more likely” that is a guess… at best if supported by some fact, it might be a assertion of odds…

But its meaningless in the context your using it…

Not only that… but you keep going on with it… you not only dictate that this odds cstatement is backed by the absolute knowledge that important facts will be whats withheld.

By the way… unlike in russia, the accused can seek a change of venue and can remain free for decades as they try to decide the issue your talking about. So again.. you have no idea how it actually works other than your imagination.

And you are basically asserting that your imagination is valid. And then you never back it up.

Hey! The US and UK have a freedom of information act where you can get the information that they have declassivied. Let me know if russia has the same.

In this case, this act insures that anything they hide now, will one day be exposed, and then known for history…

While in russia… its all to be kept hidden till the revolution is complete, where then the books will be opened and the history corrected, and the heroes are to be known.



Right now… a whole lot of communists, operatives, illegals, fronts, and such are quite scared… all these records are coming out in their lifetimes… and so the real people are getting known, and so those supporting them are starting to pay for their games. Margret sanger is a good example. she wanted to exterminate the blacks with the negro project. But if they had control of the state, we never would know the information that she laid out in her autobiography. Now planned parenthood has a slight problem in that they are celebrating a WOMAN that invented and made possible the Nazis final solution.


In the west, very very few of the cases tried ever get tried in the court the way your referring to. In fact it happens so little, that it’s a huge historical thing when and if it happens at all.

They are still trying to figure out whether that applies to the combatants in Guantanamo. If it was russia, they wouldn’t be arguing the whole thing out, it would be ordered from above that that’s what it is, and that’s the end of it.

Or havnet you noticed that they put a billionarire in jail… and hve been arresting political opponents?

if they have this alleged “evidence” then LET’S SEE IT, for god’s sake.

I agree… and the ONLY way to see it is to have a trial. Don’t you get that? that without a person that the trial is for, there is no need to show evidence.

Evidence of what? the trial is supposed to determine what your asking.

Here… again… get your little mind around this.

In the west evidence is not automatically evidence. Got that?

In the east, russia, evidence is considered such from the get go!!!

So another reason that evidence is not given to the public is that the police, who are not a court, have no power to determine what is ACTUALLY evidence from what they THINK is evidence.

Again. if you had even a school childs idea of how law works in the west, you wouldn’t be saying what your saying.

In the west, we technically would rather see 9 criminals go free, than imprison one honest man.

Russia has more than once showed that they would rather put 9 honest men in prison than let one criminal go free.

In order to do that, you m ake everyone even the honest into criminals.

And to do that you make handling evidence loose and free… you try in public where the other side cant present their arguments…you consider everything valid evidence rather than first consider if it is actually evidence, and if it is if it is actually admissible.

For instance.. if they were spying on the situation, and they didn’t have a warrant to do so, then any film they have, even if it shows him holding litvenenko down and forceing him to drink it is not admissible.

In fact, the fact that its confirmed and such as happened, is not admissalbe. And the case can actually let the person that did it free because the mistake in collecting that evidence created the situation in that the evidence no longer exists in the eyes of the law.

Now if they show that film clip to the public, what happens to litvinenkos right to challenge that evidence on grounds that its inadmissible because its illegally obtained?

His defense collapses, and the whole thing is a mistrial… no one can be convicted.

Think of what I just explained to you… you are crying for evidence, and in our systems its not evidence till the court says it is… NO MATTER HOW INCRIMINATING IT MAY BE!!!!!!!!!!!

If you were a normal person, you would then ask me to expand on this so that you understand it, and then incorporate it into your world view.

But as I said above, you hve invested a whole lot into a false world view, rather than a constantly updated world view (like me – constantly updating the information).

But this raises the broader issue of the sheer arrogance of Britain claiming to offer the only venue in the world where such cases of “international law” can be tried, and the out-of-hand British rejection of the offer by Russia to try Mr. Lugovoy there.

Again.. a total ignorance of the law in the west.

in this case the lawful concept of the trial is held where the crime was commited, so that the people who are citezens who judge the outcomes know the laws as citizens in the area.

the jury has the right of aquital. That is even if the accused commited the act, they can juge the person to be aquitted of responsibility. It can be as simple as they being just as confused as to a law as the accused is.

only show trials happen in arbitrary places.

How can russia try the case?

Whose law would be applied?

If your saying Russian law should apply to the Russians, then your asking us to return to the days when England made laws that made crimes against the other states legal!!!! (we have already grown way past that childish era of law, russia has not)

So what your saying is that the UK is wrong because they wont let Russian judges, Russian prosecutors, Russian defense attorneys, try the case in russia with English laws?

Ah… how is a Russian prosecutor and a Russian defense attorney supposed to have a fair trial applying UK law in a Russian court?

That’s how silly you are… your just spouting whatever comes to your head that sounds good.

And then your banking that I am just as stupid as you are, maybe even stupider, and so will say… ahhhhh, ooooooh… I didn’t see that.

but I am not as stupid as you.

I didn’t come to a gun fight with a pen knife.

It is absurd to suggest that the Russian Federation is just supposed to ignore its own constitution, fork over a Russian citizen to the UK, in a politicized case that involves multiple layers of international of cloak-and-dagger intrigue.

Then its also absurd to let Russians enter your country if they cant abide by the laws and such when they get there.

So if that’s the stance you want, the only answer to the west is to return to the days of closed borders and not let Russians travel.

It says that a person from a country does not have to obey the laws of the country they are entering, only the laws of their country.

This is how the british queen made piracy legal.

The result was that either the borders get closed, or russia will have to be happy with british citizens commiting crimes in their country at will, and not prosecute them.

Your logic would create a LEGAL situation where British and American citizens could enter Russia, commit murders, and if they leave before Russia realized it, they get to stay free forever, and Russia can say nothing because that’s the British constitution and law, and you wouldn’t want them to change their constitution.

Given that the same would be true the other way around, Russians would be barred from entering England or doing any business in England as there is no way to apply the law to them.

Since there is no one above the law in the west, such a person would not be allowed to be present.

Diplomatic immunity gratned to all citizens is what your claiming.

Personally… I say fine.. you want that… cool… it would mean that the US could endlessly open our prisons and in exchange for some freedom, send them illegally into your country to raise hell.. slaughter people at will…

Russia can do the same… everyhthing will get locked down, and there will be a even colder war..

And who do you think will dominate the second one too?

Russia needs the tech, the food, the 900 billion a year, the business, the sales of raw materials, and more… much much more than the west needs what she has.

So this is a very stupid action on her part.

And I hope to someone reading this that its clear how we got into the cold war, and how we are going to get inot a colder war.

The same stupid one sided logic that is ridiculous makes it ridiculous to deal with Russians. And so no one deals with them.

I know so many wealthy people that refuse to have anything to do with them for gbusiness because the same non logic your pulling is how business goes. Screw it, it’s a waste of time, and you get cheated most of the time. sad but true.. big promises, empty deliveries… takes delieveries, always has a reason not to pay..

In this case, its law… big promises as to the rule of lwa… but when there is a big case that tests it… empty deliveries… takes the 900 billion from the US, and takes expertise from the UK and money too… and so on.. but when it comes to participating fairly, they are not paying up by withholding.

Same old same old…

You accuse me of speculation, but I merely attempt to explore all the possibilities in a more or less objective way.

Ah.. this almost made me choke with laughter.

We can also explore the possiblities that aliens from another planet did it. discussiong all the possbilities so that the whole thing stalls on the turn of infinite possibilities is a interesting trick.

We can discuss the possibility that your dad committed the crime.. and we can discuss the possibility that you did.

Do you see how such as tatement intended to make your self appear as if your on the high ground, when examined, makes you out to be a legendary idiot. Whose superior position is that they are spinning the tires.

Any one that says “in fact” and follows it with so much non fact, is disingenuous at best, a moron at worst.

Your exploration is not objective… your not willing to learn, study, or even get facts together… this is not exploration… this is testing to see what will work regardless of validity.

May I ask how is it objective to assume that a case would end up in secret court? How is it objective to assert things as to law, but have no idea what you’re asserting?

Here is the big question…

How is speculation, and explore all the possibilities, different?

Do you know what those terms mean?

Speculation…
A conclusion, opinion, or theory reached by conjecture.
Reasoning based on inconclusive evidence; conjecture or supposition

Basically your talking in a circle.

Speculation is allowing bad information to be used to make or draw your conclusion, or to pretend an assumption is a fact.

Including ‘possibilities’ and not restricting to the facts IS SPECULATION.

Conjecture: the formation or expression of an opinion or theory without sufficient evidence for proof. /an opinion or theory so formed or expressed; guess; speculation

You are not exploring all the VALID possiblities, but exploring all the possibilities.

Can your tiny mind grasp the difference?

Supposition - something that is supposed; assumption; hypothesis


Conjecture, supposition, speculation… exploring all the possiblities..

Are all the same thing.

Forming logical arguments that derive from assumptions, falsehoods, non facts…

So I am glad that subconsciously you know that your lying and it’s a lie. That’s what causes the feeling of cognitive dissonance.

But the really really funny thing is that this is a conversation about law.. and law is the art of arguing fact.. and as such, conjecture, supposition, and other forms of argument and information sources are strictly forbidden because they are false, and cant lead to any truth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


While I am pretty sure that you will not see and will not grow past where you are till you’re a lot older…

I am also sure that others looking into this argument can tell where your coming from, and that your just blowing air… puffing out endless possiblities with no bearing or confirmation to reality or the truth.

Artfldgr said...

The only reason I am answering again is that you started to not be as much an idiot.. that your intelligence level changes from the first posts to the last post.

If you’ve ever seen someone drop mercury, you know it forms into a million tiny little particles, and they can be spread all over the place as each particle breaks into a thousand smaller ones again and again. It is said that polonium disburses like mercury, only more so. So clearly, if someone dumped a vial of polonium somewhere, traces of the stuff would get spread far and wide.

You don’t know what I do for a living… nor what else I do. I am familiar with mercury, and I am familier with physics and such.

Polonium doesn’t act like mercury… but it disperses…

I don’t have time to give you a graduate course in physics and such, but there are ways that arguments can be taken.

You are sure to accept that an argument that is made to those that don’t know will work when that same argument given to a person that does know things, will not.

So an explanation that god made bang sticks will work to explain gun to a primitive, walk up to a modern soldier and say that, and what do you get?

Many times when I am debating this way, this is exactly how things go. The arguments that Russia is putting forth is for public consumption. They can’t win in a court of law, and they can’t win in the detent and make England think its ok to just let interstate murder in the open happen without pursuing ALL leads.

Nuclear reactors are not operated like a candy factory. Every molecule down to the thousandth of a gram and less for radioactive material is accounted for.

A person cant pay 5k, and then get the material as if someone runs some off from a faucet. Your totally ignorant of the source, and how its made.

Yes it comes from nuclear reactors… it also occurs otherwise of course. Polonium doesn’t come out of a faucet. It comes as a part of a mix of things inside a spent nuclear fuel rod… or a rod in a breeder reactor that is making such materials.

This pellet has to then be taken, and then it has to be processed so that each of the radioactive nucleotides can be separated. Given the seriousness and the international cross inspections, everything is measured to the millionth of a gram, and production amonts are checked and cross checked and such.

Only in silly western movies can someone sneak in and replace something and then take something out. this is even less so in paranoid russia. (and they are paranoid, as the time to attack them was when they were down, not when they are up talking lilke a drunk that wants to start a fight. So if no one attacked them then, then they sure arent going to now they upgraded stuff, so upgrading it all and doing all that was only to raise prices on raw materials for which prices don’t raise any other way! they sure cant depend on their people to take those raw materials and make things from them and then sell them to increase the prices)

So a nuclear plant employee cant sneak some out. its not possible, as a nuclear plant employee cant take pellets out, then spin them in centrifuges, or other methods and then create a sample for sale. So your logical thing is not logical, its only logical sounding. And it totally relies on the fact that you and most others never take the time to know how something works or is run.


Back to the trail..

Why don’t you think it through?

There is a reason why all evidence is not exposed to the public.

You make big claims that they are not giving evidence, then you have a discussion as to the evidence they gave.

They did give evidence, your talking about it. so your othe assertions count for nothing, as you cant talk about what you claim they never gave, if they never gave it.

But back to whats at hand…

Your assumption or rather your making a lot of assumptions. And its this very reason that the police withhold little bits of things.

I agree, stuff gets all over the place… however, the person handling the stuff gets more of it.. and their trails don’t die out as fast as those who were distant from it. so yes, others will have samples on them, but the one poisoned and the poisoner who had the most concentrated exposure, would not be the same

All contamination is not equal.

However, it gets a bit more funky…

You take reports from each person there…(we will assume that there was no investigative team watching, if so, then they are working from a witness standpoint, and a witness doesn’t have to be exposed till trial. That way the others don’t get to visit or scare them first – and given that this trial is aobut a state operative who is protected by a huge powerful state, murdering a citizen, such a witness would rightly be scared for their lives)

Now you get a little map of where everyone was… your examination of the process is nil… you leave clues that that is the truth.


I agree with you that the average mugger would not go through the trouble of using polonium. But that completely misses the point. I did not suggest that that a street mugger did the murder. I suggested that it could have been Boris Berezovsky. Clearly this Russian gangster-oligarch had access to the funds to get whatever he wanted, and he could get a lethal does of polonium from Russia for a lot less than a million dollars (not that a million dollars would be more than pocket change for the billionaire tycoon).

I showed that this assumption assertion supposition etc.. is false. You are assuming that money is equivalent to power, and from that you assume that this would be easy. But you never examined the process by which you get polonium. Its so expensive because of the process…

Now I will show your assumption in full light…

You assumption is that an employee of a state run nuclear facility can take a 5k bribe and transfer more than 1 million dollars product and no one will notice.

For god sakes man think about your own thoughts and what your producing.

Russia is tight for money… russia loves power… the west are capitliasts.. BOTH groups don’t let 1 million plus in product slip out of their hands unaccounted for.

Agaion.. kgb are gods when that serves, and incompetent nincompoops when that makes your point.

Ok.. so can we consider that a millionaire cant get 1 million dollars of product for 5000 dollars? 10 thousand… or even the million…

By the way… this assumption also assumes that this can be taken, transported through open monitored corridors, and not be detected or leave OTHER trails, so its dead on more than just the main account above.

How can you possibly think that such a man could not engage in such a plot or commit the murder of one of his underlings to further his aims?

Now this is an entirely different question. and if you spent more time probing instead of trying to make up some combination of things to get an outcome, you might find out more and understand more.

I don’t think that such a man could not engage in such a plot or commit murder.

Hows that for an honest answer. In fact, with the KGB involved, and the scissors tactics they talk about, and the concept of controlling both sides of an argument, such a man cant be trusted at all.

But being untrustworthy doesn’t mean you’re the trigger man. even if he did do all this, and was part of all of this. the person who put the stuff into the food, is still the criminal that pullded the trigger and gets to serve for that time. in the west we don’t have that out. and the other, that planned it, would be in for a bunch more stuff, but different laws. Conspiracy to commit murder, vs murder itself, and other things too.

The process though demands you work from what you have. and what they have is this person who did the act. now if that person wants to come here, and get a light or commuted sentence for testifying and putting berezovsky away, that is also what can be done. but as long as he doesn’t come forward, there is no way to do this.

Russian leaders playing this game know our laws in the west, and know how they work. lugovoy facing a life sentence might not sit there and take it while his benefactor a billionaire, was having fun. But unless ther is a trial, people cant be compelled to talk, and their words can be held to legal standards of prosecution for lying. Outside of court they can lie all they want.

We must keep in mind that Boris Berezovsky stood on a London street and declared that it was his intention to finance a violent overthrow of the Russian government and install himself in power there.

And its for that reason that I think he too is a shill for the other side. russia has said, the west reacts to events while they create events. Berezovsky having made so m uch money, and so forth, then put in the victim position and things is a pefect place to shill from. but that is neither here nor there, as the only way to get them off lugovoys back is to have a trial, and then force the lines of what happened to be followed with all the players subject to prosecution for lying or fouling up the process.

As far as the polonium being found on the plane which Lugovoy took back to Moscow...? You cite that as the “smoking gun” that convicts Mr. Lugovoy. But keep in mind that polonium was not only found in the plane, but in the person of Mr. Lugovoy, as it was also found on several of the restaurant workers and other people who had contact with Mr. Litvinenko that evening. Mr. Lugovoy, for his part, says that only proves that he was a victim of the poising too.

Ok… again. think this through…

Lets say there were 5 people at the table (doesn’t matter how many, the logic is not numbers dependent other than having more than just victim and killer).

Each one has a trail that existed before the restaurant, and a trail that happens after the restaurant.

The container for the stuff, has to leave with the person who did it. and the container once opened, and closed surreptitiously, would mark the murderer much more than others.

If he shook hands, then some would come off, but if you examined, the hand he shook would have less… and so you could tell which hand had it first.

The rate at which the trail dies out is also a measure of exposure… given that the substance was used so that it would NEVER be found, all the things that could have been done to cloud this enough were not done.

So the cook that handled the diluted stuff from the food, has a less strong sample than the person that opened the container, poured it, then had to handle the cap and container to close it. his clothes would have it, his body would have it, and on and on..

His trail would last for days while others would fade below detection hours later.

This is why the smoking gun points to this person… a lot of time went by between the incident and the discovery of what it is. by this time, each contaiminated person went about their business… and as you go back and follow their itinerary… everyones trail goes cold within a day or two of the itinerary… but lugovoys trail was “hot” enough (literally), to be followed for days and show up on the plane.

In a court case the accused has the right to know before the appearance, all the evidence that they have against them. however, they don’t have a right to know how the evidence will be put together and the facts assumed.

So staying out of this situation, allows lugovoy to make claims like above, and you quote because most people, even people like you who pretend or believe they think, do nothing of the sort… or don’t do it very far.

So all trails are not equal…

Is it possible hat because the two men were sitting in the same restaurant booth, at the same table, and eating, drinking, talking, smoking, that Lugovoy could have gotten a small part of the dose intended for Litvinenko? Is

Sure. I accepted the argument that the stuff gets all over. However I don’t accept the argument that litvinenko got a big dose, another person got a big dose, and the persons handling it and such in a restaurant got minimal dosages.

Lugovoy didn’t get a small dose, since days later there was still enough around to contaminate things.

Here is a possibility… but again, I am drawing attention to the fact that its guessing and has nothing backing it up other than past performances.

If the container was leaky or contamination was not only at the restaurant, something that we are making an assumption of. Then there is a trail of one person leading up to the restaurant… then many people contaminated leaving the restaurant.

Is it possible that the traces found in the aircraft came from Lugovoy’s clothes?

Yes… most definitely… and the traces in his luggage would show that another person who got on the plane couldn’t get stuff into his luggage. You see, you ask questions, but then don’t do the work. you are offloading the work on to me, and if I can answer, you think your right.

That’s a screwed up way to get answers, no?

The person that opened the container, then transported it out of the location, had it on their clothes too… they went to their hotel, and so forth..

As they make this trail… it becomes harder and harder to claim the shadow. You CAN conceive that if they thought the polonium would be detected (switching from thalium or thorium, cant remember), they could have played some games, but again, the shadow has to be like a real shadow. It has to go to all the places that he goes, follows him…

So you start collecting the info… taking readings.. and the readings vs time, and the locations… create a clock… so one can tell that the clock is missing some time, or new stuff was added… etc.

A heck of a lot of information can be gleaned by smart people examining the stuff, and logically going throught it. in some cases this can be incredible (Sherlock holmes not withstanding).

A key thing about polonium is that it does not pass through human skin. It is incredibly toxic, and a miniscule dose is lethal, but it must be absorbed through the stomach, not the skin. Therefore Mr. Lugovoy could have had quite a bit of polonium on his clothes, even on his skin, and it would not have been fatal to him unless he ingested it somehow.

Correct. But if he was not informed as to the nature of what he was using, and how it operates, how it behaves, and so forth, he would be assured to act normally. The question now is, as you bring up. did he touch his face. Did he eat with his hands.

The stuff IS incredibly toxic… which is why its obvious that the person administering it was not informed. If they were, a whole lot less would have been used (rather than empty the container), and thins would have worked out as they planed. Raging fast stomach cancer. Remember they poisoned a politician with dioxins not long before that (And that was a messed up thing too).

This is why they wanted lugovoy back. I don’t have time to finish this analysis… and only because you wised up and started trying to think things through that I did come back and say something.

But let me clue you in….

Historically speaking, when a person was to be punished, or watched after, russia called them back. you can read hundreds of the histories in which a person gets called back and the results were variations on a few themes.

What we just went over, and your figuring out is that lugovoy, didn’t know what he was working with, or at the very least if we accept your attempted premise just for the sake of discussion right here in this paragraph, that the other agent did him too.

Meditate on that for a second. lugovoy thinks that he will be protected. But if the shadow poisoined him, then in whose hands is he sitting? Then think if there was no other and if lugovoy was the man, he was not informed and was let to contaminate himself out of ignorance. And again, whose hands is he sitting in?

If he decided to change his mind, and testify, can he now? of course not. but you ask, why would he do that? he might do it when he figured out that the people he thinks are protecting him were the ones that thought he was expendable in the first place, and didn’t tell him.

You see… in a couple of years, he may start getting cancer… even if its all natural, he will think it was the stuff he used. Then comes the question of loyalty. Russia has been pretty clear on that one. there is no such thing unless its pragmatic, and so they will not believe that he is loyal. Even if he is totally loyal and never would change his mind, pragmatism dictates that the safest course is to cover both bases.

This then begs the question… are they watching lugovoy to protect him, or are they keeping a potential future enemy closer, till they can tie up the situation neatly?

If lugovoy is on trial in the west, it will take a few years. He will not be in jail, but will be free to move about the country. he would not be free to leave. And so for several years mr lugovoy would be out of the hands of his operators, and in a tenous position for the kremlin. If during that period he developed cancer or such and thinks its his mission. He is in a place to change his mind, say he defects, and get a whole new life and medical treatment etc.

If you were the ones to plan this… and the chemical got all over.. and now there is a chance (as always) that the person who did it may turn (even if its only in your own head), then what would be your stance?

The exact stance that russia is in now…

Any other combination… would create an out… and if there was an out… they would take it.. its pragmatic…

So there isn’t an out, and so they cant take it, and so they are playing it exactly as one would think if this was the situation.

If its not the situation, then it actually doesn’t make sense given whats at stake.

[note that they have killed more than 200 journalists since putin came to office, so getting rid of people is not a problem for them. care to let me know how many the west off? I can tell you that we don’t, and I can even point to commuist authors that write for our newspapers. So so much for ideological persa or ;procecution. ]



I have time for just one more address to what your saying, and I hope that you realize that what your saying is totally ridiculous.

Let’s say the Russian FBI (the FSB) gave Mr. Lugovoy a vial of incredibly toxic nuclear polonium to put into the drink of a turncoat former KGB spy. He would certainly want instructions for the proper handling of the dangerous material. He would want some assurance that he would not poison himself in the process of trying to poison the mark.

Now your thinking like an American.

What he wants doesn’t matter. a soldier does not get to say “sarge if I do that they will kill me”.

The saying goes. “ours is not to question why, ours is but to do, or die”

Got that?

He may want instructions, assurances, etc… but he is not in a free job that he can quit from like in the west… he is a kgb man for life…

They would never tell him those things because the operation would work better if they didn’t. they don’t care if he gets killed, in fact, right now, I bet they wish that he was. the fact that everyone is watching is why he is still alive.

The man that poisoned Stalin screwed it up too.

Poisions and guns don’t work lilke they do in the movies. Poisions are flakey (there is a case of one man surviving 100 times the deadly dose of arsenic his wife gave him. she went to jail because out of 5 husbands, this man could suck arsenic and live. And when someone gets shot, they don’t fly in the air or jump. It looks like somoen turned the robot off in midstep and they just lose all tone and fall as if their muscles were all let go)

Lugovy probably got a simple set of orders… that’s it. no training, nothing. such things change behavior and is what gets someone caught when they are around professionals in this business. when they are around others such things are more likely as the others will not believe or entertain that the situation sare actually that serious.

And I never said he was playing or horsing around…

I said that he may have taken the vial of substance… which is all he knows..
And opened it, then closed it as a rehearsal. He may have been told it only works if you eat it. dry runs are common in such things.

He may have opened it to know how hard it is to open so that he knows that he can open it easily at the table, or has to go to the bathroom and then cut past the food at the wait station. He may have opened it, someone came, and he had to close it.

I just don’t buy your theory that Lugovoy was just playing with the polonium; horsing around with it in the plane; "practicing” with it; opening the container to see what it smelled like; shaking up the bottle; tossing it in the air and catching it again; seeing how hard he could bite down on the vial without cracking it, etc. It simply makes no sense.

Do you see how many ridiculous thing you are alluding that I said or implied?

Where did horsing around come from? where did tossing come from? where did putting it in his mout like a cyanide capsule and test it come from.

That’s a moronic way to debate. What usefulness did that serve?

My theory says that there is a good reason he got it on him, and I gave plausible ways he could. That’s to demonstrate possibility, not to demonstrate fact.

Your mind slips in and out of facts like a mental patient.

Given the concept of NEED TO KNOW… a lot that doesn’t make sense happens.

All your points on making it ridiculous have to turn on him knowing. But in military, and other things, need to know is how tings are done. even from the state to the public, need to know is a question that they sk first.

Lugovoy did not need to know in order to fulfill his mission. His mission would be to put this material into food when he had a chance.

That’s it. he doesn’t get more because that system runs on a need to know basis where the concept is that no one needs to know anything.


In the west, we have a different philosophy, and we allow subordinates to make trouble for leaders. A soldier asked to do something wrong DOES have the right to refuse an order. They cant refuse it arbitrarily, but they can refuse orders.

But they are not indoctrinated, nor are they conscripted. They are hired and paid and willfully there. so they can know more, since they are not tools, but people.


In russia, people are seen as tools by the kgb. The kgb orchestrates events, and whatever needs for making that event happen and not screw it up, they will do. except if that included telling the details.

If lugovoy was caught not by police, but by operatives, and they acted like kgb.. then lugovoy knowing stuff divulges stuff.

So operatives are not given more details about their mission other than the minimal necessary to fulfill it.

Again… your assumptions are off… the premise here that the kremlin gives their people choices like the west are way way off. they don’t, and even in the west we don’t get that much, but we get a heck of a lot more.

On the other hand, if someone got the stuff on Mr. Lugovoy or on his coat or his clothes, intentionally or otherwise, then he would tend to track it everywhere, leave traces everywhere; it just makes sense. Mr. Lugovoy wouldn’t even know that he had it on him, so he could hardly take any precautions, could he?

Ah.. but then the trails concentrations would change in a way that didn’t match events.

It also would get the stuff on the person that did it… and so there would be a trail leading away from lugovoy… he would appear to split… as he went one way leaving a trail… and the other went another way leaving a trail…

At some point, the single trail would divide, and that would be shown.

Got to learn to think kiddo.