The Litvinenko Scam

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The investigative journalist Edward Jay Epstein has taken up the Litvinenko case.

The media used the Litvinenko case as sensational propaganda against Russian President Putin and then tossed it aside. For those whose memories of the case have faded, Alexander Litvinenko was a former KGB officer living in England who died in 2006, apparently from the radioactive isotope Polonium-210.

The British government encouraged the tale that Russian President Putin had sent Andrei Lugovoi to poison Litvinenko’s tea at a meeting on November 1, 2006. The story appealed to people brought up on James Bond thrillers, but the story never made any sense. Polonium-210 is a rare and tightly controlled substance as likely to contaminate the assassin as the victim. There are far easier and more effective ways of killing someone.

Moreover, there is no evidence to connect Russia to Litvinenko’s death. But this didn’t stop the British government from grandstanding, sending an extradition request for Lugovoi in July 2007. The British government sent the request despite the facts that there is no extradition treaty between Britain and Russia and the Russian constitution prohibits the extradition of Russian citizens. Epstein suggests that the purpose of the extradition request was to block the Russian government from investigating Litvinenko’s death in London. Litvinenko had a false passport provided by the British government. A real investigation might have opened up the shadowy world of security consultants in which Litvinenko rubbed shoulders with former British police and intelligence officials.

The Russians asked to see the evidence. The case file delivered by the British contained nothing of substance. Not even the autopsy report was provided to the Russians. Epstein managed to convince the Russians to let him see the file and to question them about the case. In brief, if the British have a case, they are withholding the evidence.

The charge that Putin was behind Litvinenko’s death seems to have originated with Boris Berezovsky, one of the Russian oligarchs who had grabbed the lion’s share of privatized Soviet assets during Yeltsin’s presidency. Epstein reports that Berezovsky’s protector in Russia was Litvinenko, the deputy head of the organized crime unit of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor to the KGB. When Berezovsky fled Russia to escape fraud charges, Litvinenko followed. Epstein reports that Berezovsky has declared an agenda of "overthrowing the regime of his archenemy, Mr. Putin." According to Epstein, "Alex Goldfarb, the executive director of Mr. Berezovsky’s foundation, prepared for Litvinenko’s end by writing out his u2018deathbed’ statement, which, according to Mr. Goldfarb, was drawn from statements Litvinenko had dictated to him."

Epstein writes: "A few hours after Litvinenko died on November 23, 2006, Mr. Goldfarb arranged a press conference and released the sensational deathbed statement accusing Mr. Putin of the poisoning." Web sites supported by Berezovsky spread the story that Litvinenko was murdered by the FSB.

The effort to link Putin and the FSB to Litvinenko’s death might be a tale designed to cover up a more serious crime in the making. Polonium-210 is an indication that someone is trying to build a nuclear weapon. Epstein finds reasons to suspect that Litvinenko had, and perhaps Berezovsky has, connections to a Polonium smuggling scheme, and Litvinenko’s death resulted from accidental or careless exposure to Polonium-210.

Who would be trying to build a secret nuclear weapon or perhaps only a "dirty bomb" that would serve to spread some radiation and massive amounts of fear and hysteria? The public has been carefully prepared to suspect Iran. If such a device were exploded somewhere in the United States, Bush, Cheney, and the neocon nazis would have their second new Pearl Harbor to justify their planned attack on Iran.

We know that the Bush regime wants to attack Iran. Despite the NIE report that Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons program several years ago and despite no signs of a weapons program having been uncovered by IAEA inspectors, Bush, Cheney, and the neocon nazis continue to agitate for striking Iran "before it is too late." Their politicized military commander in Iraq, Gen. Petraeus, keeps insisting that Iran is training Iraqi insurgents and supplying weapons that are killing US troops. Bush and Cheney themselves have made trips to Europe and the Middle East trying to marshall support for an attack on Iran. Anyone who is not deaf, blind and stupid knows that the Bush regime is doing everything it can to create circumstances that will permit a US attack on Iran.

We know for a fact that the Bush regime created false evidence, lied, and deceived in order to attack Iraq. All the reasons given for the US invasion have proven to be false. The real agenda has never been declared. Yet, five years later the traitors in high office who deceived Americans into a war in behalf of a hidden agenda have not been held accountable. As Agatha Christie said, getting away with one murder makes it easy to commit another.

Paul Craig Roberts [send him mail] a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, has been reporting shocking cases of prosecutorial abuse for two decades. A new edition of his book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions, co-authored with Lawrence Stratton, a documented account of how Americans lost the protection of law, is forthcoming from Random House in March, 2008.

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