Spy vs. Spy

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					                  Spy vs. Spy

• “Imagine you were a foreign power that wanted to get rid of a
  dissident who had set up home in London. Would you a) push
  the trouble maker under a bus, b) have him mown down by a hit-
  and-run driver or c) arrange for him to be poisoned while eating
  in a crowded restaurant?” ~ The Guardian – 21 Nov. 2006
         Alexander Litvinenko
• Former KGB Agent
• Former FSB Colonel
  – Current Russian president,
    Vladimir Putin, former head of
• Investigated corruption of
• Outspoken critic of the
  policies of the FSB/KGB as
  well as of the Kremlin
            Alexander Litvinenko
•       Fled to the UK in 2000 and gained
        political asylum
•       Attempted to publish a book in 2003
        detailing the transformation of the FSB
        into a criminal organization
•       Died on November 23, 2006 in London
        due to Polonium-210 poisoning
    –     Considered first act of ―nuclear terrorism‖
• 1998 - Claimed to have been ordered to
  murder billionaire tycoon, Boris
• 1999 - Accused FSB of Moscow
  apartment bombings
• 2002-2003 – Attempts to publish two
  different books implicating the FSB and
  the Kremlin in criminal activities
• 2006
• 1 November – Meets Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri
  Kovtun at a London hotel. Also meets Mario
  Scaramella where he received documents about
  Politkovskaya’s death. Feels sick in evening.
• 3 November – Admitted to Barnet General
• 11 November – Very bad shape after serious
• 17 November – Transferred to University
  College Hospital
• 20 November – Moved to intensive care
• 21 November – Diagnosed as poisoned with
  radioactive Thallium
• 22 November – Russia government denies
  involvement in poisoning
• 23 November – Litvinenko dies
• November 24 – Statement made from
  deathbed released to the public. Accused
  Putin of his death, calling him ―barbaric
  and ruthless.‖ Statement was typed in
  English—a language which Litvinenko did
  not speak.
• Polonium-210 identified.
          Prime Suspects

• Putin   Lugovoi   Kovtun   Berezovski
• Putin's agents and a licence to kill
       The plight of Alexander Litvinenko is not a scene from
       a film or a story from the past. It is from London in
       2006….It's not just that the KGB's old habits of
       disinformation and mischief-making are still with us,
       but that the organisation's tentacles reach as far and
       formidably as ever. And who better to supervise this
       than the taciturn, foulmouthed KGB Lieutenant-
       General Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.
• Dangers that stalk the enemies of Putin
  – There is no evidence that President Vladimir
    Putin is personally complicit in the tragedies
    that sometimes befall his enemies, but vocal
    opponents of his policies do have a habit of
    being caught up in often extreme "personal
• The spy who wouldn't die - Russian assassin
  – Ex-secret police colleagues are believed to have
    injected his meal with thallium, a highly-toxic
    colourless and odourless chemical, before it reached
    his table at Itsu.
  – Last night Britain and Russia were on the brink of a
    diplomatic crisis, with Foreign Office chiefs anxiously
    waiting to see if Scotland Yard could confirm whether
    agents were involved.
    If so, it could trigger the biggest bust-up between the
    countries since President Vladimir Putin came to
                        Daily Mail
• Terrible effects of poison on
  Russian spy shown in first
   – ―While the pictures undoubtedly
     illustrate the extraordinary pain Mr
     Litvinenko is going through, they
     will also be used to embarrass the
     Russian government.
   – ―The pictures of Mr Litvinenko were
     released to the media yesterday by
     one of Britain’s leading public
     relations firms.‖
          Misc. Headlines
• Independent on Sunday: Russian defector
  poisoned in London 'on orders of Moscow'
• The Mail on Sunday (United Kingdom):
  KGB 'try to poison man' in sushi bar
         Russian Media
• Where British press has run over 1500
  stories about Litvinenko since his
  poisoning, Russian media has run only a
  few over 100.
• Litvinenko case: Russia might sue
  media for libel
            Russian Media
Voice of Russia – State-run radio station.
  – Website featured no news about Litvinenko’s
    poisoning or death
  – Focused on stories about scandals and
    corruption in UK and US politics
            Russian Media
• Mayak National Network – Story went
  mostly unreported.
• Channel One / Rossiya – Russia’s two
  leading television channels reported next
  to nothing. Bulletins that were aired noted
  particularly that Litvinenko had been
  convicted of treason two years following
  his self-exile.
      Dangerous Journalism
• Stories which may embarrass Putin, the
  Kremlin, or other federal organizations are
  closely monitored.
• In the past 15 years, 44 journalists have
  been murdered in Russia (3rd most
  dangerous nation for journalists).
      Dangerous Journalism
• Anna Politkovskaya was murdered in
  October 2006.
  – She was a lead reporter of the Chechnya
    War, and a supporter of human rights and
    journalistic freedom.
  – It was her death which Litvinenko was
    presumably investigating at the time of his
    own death.
             Russian Twist
• Primary conspiracy theory in Russian
  media—Berezovsky ordered Litvinenko’s
  (and possibly Politkovskaya’s) death in
  order to deal a blow to Putin’s reputation.
• Investigations have been ongoing since
  the moment of the poisoning.
• The Scotland Yard police are working
  with Russian investigators to track
  down the guilty parties
• Currently, more and more evidence
  seems to point back to Andrei Lugovoi
  (associate of Berezovsky).

• Was the media correct in appointing
  conclusive blame without appropriate
• Should more care have been taken with
  the editing of the stories in order to
  eliminate political bias?

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