A long awaited report on the death of Mr Alexander Litvinenko ten years ago has finally been published earlier today. We all expected what it was going to say, didn’t we? Well, you see we knew he was certainly murdered – because he told us so shortly before he died, didn’t he? Not only had that, but he even disclosed who had murdered him, no less.
Litvinenko was a Russian national and a former member of the Russian secret services (KCB and FSS), who had run away from Russia to the United Kingdom, and rightly or wrongly, we had granted him political asylum and then into the bargain British citizenship. Only the powers that be here, are aware exactly what level or kind of spy he was, or even why we inexplicably decided to take him in and live as one of us, eh? They obviously know something we don’t, eh? [was he helping MI6 & MI5 either before or after coming to the UK, do you think?].
Anyway, the poor bloke was poisoned to a lingering painful death so ended up in a hospital bed for weeks on end with countless helpless doctors watching on, and in the full glare of media attention.
Poisoned indeed, but not though by a normal murderer’s method with your usual fast acting or even untraceable potion, was it? Say like arsenic (the so-called ‘king of poisons’, for its discreetness, potency and virtually undetectability). Or cyanide (used by the Nazis in extermination camps in WWII and kills by preventing the body from absorbing life-giving oxygen & hence damaging internal organs). Or slow acting dimethylmercury (used in repeated small doses to untreatable effect). Or the well named deadly nightshade (recipients get nauseous, hallucinate, and then develop a rapid pulse that trickles down to nothing). Or strychnine (causes uncontrollable muscle spasms, frothing at the mouth, reflexes that are dramatically greater than the stimuli that produce them, and eventual death from asphyxiation when the muscles are too tensed and erratic to allow for breathing). Not forgetting of course, the Greeks’ of old favourite Hemlock (which acts as a paralytic that keeps the mind awake, but takes out the muscles, shuts down the respiratory system, so death comes from waking asphyxiation –nice? Or even basic rat poison (the most readily available). Oh, but it was none of those, was it?
No, Litvinenko was terminated with a lethal dose of polonium 210 [Po-210), surreptitiously administered a couple of times it is evidenced – the first time it only made him ill. Never heard of it? Well, that is not surprising, as it is only available when produced in a top nuclear military establishment i.e. implying a government involvement (experts say this was produced specifically at the Sarov, Russia nuclear facility). Polonium is a silver coloured metal, with this radioactive isotope first discovered a hundred and twenty years ago, which is difficult to detect as it doesn’t emit normal gamma rays (the typical cause of radiation poisoning), but alpha positively charged particles. It is so highly dangerous and so deadly poisonous because though the particles are very short range, if orally ingested it is distributed by the blood and destroys body molecules. It is believed that Litvinenko is the first person murdered by polonium and it was only detected in his urine through a hunch and using the Atomic Weapons Establishment.
A couple of Russians are in the frame as being the hit squad and are accused of and charged with murder. One had openly talked about plans to eliminate Litvinenko as a traitor to set an example. The main man, one Andrey Lugovoy, another former spy-man, had escaped back to Russia as intended well before the murder was detected, so the Government sought to extradite him back to the UK, but was met with a blank refusal by the Russians, despite them having signed-up to extradition treaties. President Putin and his cronies then made him a member of their Duma parliament – so that he is now completely untouchable. The other man charged with the murder, Dmitry Kovtun, had said he would testify to the hearing by video link (he refused to attend in person), but he quickly ducked-out when he realised that even as a ‘core participant’ entitled to many-many thousands of pages of evidence, that he wasn’t going to be able to gather a shed-load of sensitive classified information, eh? Yet nevertheless, he badly disrupted the inquiry by delaying it for months in it trying to make arrangements for him.
Litvinenko made deathbed accusations that Russian president Vladimir Putin was behind his assassination and indeed his untimely death inevitably led to serious diplomatic difficulties between the British and Russian governments. Litvinenko had been a very prominent, outspoken, a vocal and vitriolic critic of Putin, the misdeeds of the FSB, and made serious allegations about organised crime in Russia (Mafia) linked to Putin and his inner circle and endemic corruption (that attempted exposure had particularly angered Putin).
Litvinenko’s Italy residing father had named Russian man of science and business oligarch Boris Berezovsky as one of the people behind his son’s killing and three years ago Berezovsky (another successful political asylum case) was found dead at his home in Berkshire (how he got his demise is anyone’s guess, isn’t it?).
The Government set-up a Court based public inquiry early last year, chaired by Sir Robert Owen, a retired judge, to try to establish the facts on Litvinenko’s death, and this took evidence over six months from experts, government agencies, law enforcement, and many others (some sixty individuals provided input under oath, but certainly not the two killers, unfortunately?). You ought to know though that the Government’s concern on events didn’t actually stretch far enough to supporting such an inquiry, did it? No, the Home Secretary had refused time and time again to set-up one– it only happened because she was forced to do so in the end by the English High Court – disgraceful, and what does that tell you, eh?
The exposed evidential trail of polonium contamination left by the killer isotope was substantial and involved aircraft, hotels, restaurant, bar, nightclub, and the murder weapon teapot that had been used by the perpetrators to persuade Litvinenko to accept the drink from, which killed him. Hundreds of the public had been also exposed to the radiation, which was ‘off the scale’ in some locations (but apparently nonone experienced serious sickness).
You see there was both personal animosity between Litvinenko and Putin and a dire issue of the murdered man being highly critical of Putin’s régime, and claimed that his rise to power had been orchestrated by the Russian secret service (no surprise in that as its ex-chief, eh?), including that Putin was behind a number of atrocities.
As widely predicted, today’s published report concluded that Litvinenko’s murder was organised by the Russian government and the clear line of command goes right back to the Kremlin and much to the surprise of the cynical, Putin himself did NOT escaped direct blame, as the conclusion is that he probably authorised the assassination (as did the top man in the FSB).
It is an extremely important matter because the security of our Country and the safety of British citizens are points at issue here, aren’t they? We can’t have Russian spy assassins simply dropping-in from time to time, to kill off anyone legitimately living here, who they don’t particularly like and see as a threat, can we? Not only that but an untold number of many totally unconnected people’s health and lives were put at risk in the process – because the Russians didn’t give a hoot about ‘collateral’ damage, provided they got their evil deed done effectively, did they?
Russia must not be allowed to get away with this outrage. Dropping a nuclear bomb on the Kremlin would perhaps be going a bit too far, but at least fresh severe sanctions need to be put in place, don’t they? That should include refusing entry to all Russians and banning them of owning any football clubs or anything else in this Country, don’t you think? It is unthinkable that PM David Cameron is NOT planning to take any meaningful action when faced with this damning inquiry report, isn’t it?
The Government seriously expects to get away with a cautious response, limited measures, no expulsions, no travel bans, or no anything significant. Oh yes, Teresa May says she will now freeze (not confiscate?) the UK assets of the two murderers – wow! What village idiot thinks the spy pair has ever had, or would be so naive to have left, assets in the UK when charged with murder, for goodness sake? Oh yes, the Government will also call round the Russian ambassador and give him a ticking-off and tell him of our displeasure – no doubt followed by afternoon tea so he is not too upset, perhaps? That should bring Alexander Litvinenko back from the dead, as well as comfort his grieving family, will it? It will also let all other dissidents in the UK know that they are now completely safe, as the Country pulls out all the stops to protect to the very end, all its citizens, won’t it?
The suggested measures are nowhere near the range that is available to the Government, is it? So it does not go far enough and it is decidedly NOT good enough. The plan is all about not doing anything to upset the Russians, and the excuse is to be because we need them to fight ISIS in Syria. Balderdash. The Russians were NOT even in Syria when May constantly refused to hold the Litvinenko inquiry, were they? Furthermore, the Russians are only in Syria now, semi against ISIS, for their own vested interest – and certainly nothing to do with helping us, eh?
It has taken ten years to get to this point, when there has been no action on the way, with the Government refusing an inquiry time and again, and using the excuse for no retribution, that it was because there was no independent proof or judgment of Russia’s guilt. Now we all have got the desired final answers, and still the Government want to sit on their hands? UNACCEPTABLE.
This planned inaction now is all about the hard reality of diplomacy running roughshod over justice, isn’t it? May has today described Russia’s actions as a blatant and unacceptable breach of international law – so where exactly is the punishment to match the crime, do you think?
The saddest thing about the Governments announcement today, is that that is not simply down to a knee-jerk reaction faced with a shocking report, is it? No, it comes after much navel gazing and consideration, as the report’s content was widely predicted, if not fully leaked. Doing the right thing and standing up to the likes of Putin requires guts, and that is something in short supply in the modern politics of Britain, isn’t it?
Russia has got away virtually scot-free with past misdeeds, so it can’t happen again, surely? There are of course squeals of protest now from Moscow claiming the report was politicised and a fabrication, coupled with high level straight denials of any involvement whatsoever in Mr Litvinenko’s sickening killing, just as there has been about all their other low-life atrocities. Like military actions over two decades first in Chechnya, then Georgia, now ongoing Russian troops’ incursions & presence in eastern Ukraine, fighting and participating in unrest and promulgating civil war (denied and claimed that there were simple military people around on leave and nothing to do with the Russian state). Or indeed the full scale annexation of Crimea (denied naturally, but a bit of a difficult one to get out of when it has completely been taken over, eh?). Or the mistakenly shooting down of Malaysian flight MH17 airliner with the loss of all passengers and crew on board, some three hundred of them (vehemently denied amidst claims the investigation was politicised, but the evidence of use of their Russian surface-to-air missile has been irrefutable, hasn’t it?), and more recently in Syria supporting tyrant Assad in murdering his people, by providing Russian manned combat aircraft & helicopters to bomb the rebels (who are supported by the West).
REPEATED FROM A PREVIOUS POST: Alexander Litvinenko’s final poignant deathbed words for Vladimir Putin were
[…’this may be the time to say one or two things to the person responsible for my present condition. You may succeed in silencing me but that silence comes at a price. You have shown yourself to be as barbaric and ruthless as your most hostile critics have claimed. You have shown yourself to have no respect for life, liberty or any civilised value. You have shown yourself to be unworthy of your office, to be unworthy of the trust of civilised men and women. You may succeed in silencing one man but the howl of protest from around the world will reverberate, Mr Putin, in your ears for the rest of your life. May God forgive you for what you have done, not only to me but to beloved Russia and its people’].