The Litvinenko Spy-Poisoning Saga Continues

Like a story straight out of the pages of a Dostoevsky’s novel, Russian intrigues never really end; they only stay quiet long enough to increase the drama. I’ve been following this story since it’s most recent surfacing, the climatic moment of a mostly-unwritten novel where former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko dies in his British hotel room of Polonium 232 poisoning.

Now, in what seems like a belated and obvious statement, the UK government has signaled that the Litvinenko case is a legal matter. This from the overly-animated and annoying Forbes Magazine webpage. Not to be outdone, CNN picks up on the story:

Ex-KGB spy: UK tried to recruit me – CNN.com

“Britain is making me a scapegoat,” a confident and combative Lugovoi, himself a former KGB agent, told a packed news conference in Moscow Thursday, which was televised live on state-owned television.Lugovoi said he did not know for sure who killed Litvinenko with radioactive polonium in London last November but said there were three possible suspects: British intelligence, the mafia and Boris Berezovsky, a billionaire tycoon who fled Russia for London after falling out with President Vladimir Putin.

“The third theory looks the most likely to me. I am talking about Berezovsky, who is well known as an outstanding master of political intrigues,” Lugovoi said.

Now, this may seem strange to you, but CNN is making a big deal out of it’s own angle on the story for the sake of having any unique angle at all, and that angle is entirely stupid. More upon commencement of flippage. Flip.

Not that Lugovoi’s contention is beyond the realm of possibility. Not at all, but the fact is that Russian intrigues never die, there’s one around every corner, and the principle method of defending one’s self in Russian spy games is to make it look like the intrigue you’re caught up in is actually a double-cross and you’re not nearly as guilty as the other guy. The point is to muddy the waters long enough to wriggle away, and the story I wrote, piecing together the last twenty years of history among all the above-mentioned men points that out quite clearly, I think.

CNN has fallen into this trap. Gullible little buggers, ain’t they? The American media profit machine is once again taking at face-value the word of someone they have no reason to trust. Just for the sake of headlines, not in the interest of informing the public. Can you say “John Mark Karr“? Good. I knew ya could.

I can’t wait to see that stuffed loon Wolf Blitzer, finger dramatically pressing against his ear-piece, talking about this and “getting reports in” about the crap this Lugovoi is spinning for anyone who will listen. All while standing in front of twenty monitors showing clips of The Hunt for the Red October.

I wish I could say I was disappointed in our media, but I’m just bored by the predictability.

The safest bet in the Litvinenko case is that there is some direct connection between the murder and the Russian military or FSB (the former KGB, repackaged), because you’d have to have some serious credentials to get a hold of Polonium, and the only country known to have refined Polonium is Russia. Let’s face it: a radioactive poison that kills without leaving a trace is just so very Russian. Who else would think of such a thing?

UPDATED: The Times Online, an actual news publication, picks up the story a bit more accurately:

Some analysts expressed scepticism at Mr Lugovoy’s version of events. Peter Lavelle, political commentator on Russia Today, the state-funded English language channel, said that it did not answer the question of where the polonium-210 used to poison Mr Litvinenko had come from.

Mr Lugovoy appears at times to revel in the attention he has received as a result of this case, even as he strenuously protests his innocence. He ended his press conference, broadcast live on Russian television, with a strong appeal to patriotism that appeared calculated to strike a chord with viewers.

He must be hoping that he can protect himself against whoever might be involved in Russia by making accusations so publicly against MI6 and Mr Berezovsky. It is a high-risk balancing act in a case that grows murkier with each new revelation.

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By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.