Sunday, 14 February 2016

In an article for the Daily Mail dated 27 November 2006,Call a spin doctor for Mr Putin’, Ephraim Hardcastle asked:

“Have we been manipulated over the gruesome death of Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko?”

Does the Pope have a balcony? He goes on…

“The message is: Litvinenko was murdered by agents acting on behalf of Russia's President Vladimir Putin. Do not trust Putin. He is a very bad man.

From the moment he was admitted to hospital in London, Litvinenko was described as the victim of a poisoning plot by the Russian state.

We were fed copious details of how he had rebelled against the Putin machine - refusing to carry out violence on its behalf - and how he feared for his life 24 hours a day.

A pin-sharp picture of the dying Litvinenko on his hospital bed was made available to newspapers.

So were his last words, including: "I can hear the beating wings of the angel of death... you may succeed in silencing one man, but the howl of protest around the world will reverberate, Mr Putin, 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."

Litvinenko's associate in London is Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, an arch enemy of Putin who seeks "regime change" in Russia. He is behind the claims that Litvinenko was murdered by Putin. He says Putin wants him dead, too.

Putin loyalists have another theory: "British PR men ordered the sacrifice of Litvinenko to make a noise," says the daily newspaper Izvestia.

"This death is in the interest of those who want to spoil relations between Russia and the West."

So who are the "British PR men"? Step forward Lord Bell, the distinguished former adviser to Margaret Thatcher.”

Lord Bell’s contacts were so influential and powerful, he was even able to secure for his oligarch client a place on BBC1’s Question Time, the first Russian so to appear, on 7th June 2007. At this and every other opportunity, whether in the company of royalty, media and business tycoons, journalists, policy-makers, sports stars, celebrities or politicians, Berezovsky never deviated from his anti-Putin script. Simultaneously, he was pouring millions of pounds, dollars, euros etc into every conceivable form of propaganda to discredit Putin and his government.

Marina L: “After that he never came out from this bed.”

Watson: “Specialist consultants were baffled, but his life was ebbing away.”

Prof Amit Nathwani: “His vital organs were being destroyed in a sequential pattern. It started with his liver, and then was followed very rapidly by his kidneys and then his heart. We could see that we were losing the battle, right in front of our eyes.”

Peter Clark (counter-terror chief): “We were in the unusual position of having what you could describe as a living murder victim, telling us about how he came to believe that he was meeting his death.”

Watson: “So there were police at his bedside, but also government scientists from the Ministry of Defence, and others in plain clothes.”

Dr John Goldstone, Director Critical Care Unit, UCL: “The police officers were there, but there were some people who probably weren’t police officers but were possibly members of the security services and we don’t know…”

Watson interjects: “Spooks?”

Dr Goldstone: “Well, um, yes, possibly.”

Gosh. What with dodgy dossiers and other pitiful failures, one might expect Britons to have lost a little of their tendency, implicit in this exchange, to giggle nervously at the thought of the trench-coat and dark glasses-wearing brigade. Furthermore, given the extent to which he was implicated in the furtive manipulation of evidence leading up to the Iraq War, Sir John Scarlett's appointment as head of MI6 (the post he held when these events took place) was perhaps something like giving Rolf Harris the Director-Generalship of the BBC.
Prof Nathwani: “A couple of days after he was admitted, we had a brainstorming session with various medical colleagues; pharmacists, toxicologists, and colleagues from Public Health England, and we considered all possibilities.”

Watson: “As a last resort the highly unusual decision was made to send blood and urine samples here, to the government's top-secret nuclear research centre at Aldermaston. This is the research site responsible for developing Britain’s nuclear bomb.

The idea Watson is trying to market here, that the discovery of Polonium-210 as the cause of Litvinenko’s death was somehow on a par with cracking the Enigma code, is out-and-out claptrap. As can be seen from Owen’s report, the possibility of poisoning had already been raised on 9th November:

3.120c “On or around 9 November, Marina Litvinenko asked Mr Litvinenko’s consultant, Dr Dean Creer whether Mr Litvinenko’s infection could have been the result of poisoning. She explained that her husband was usually extremely fit and healthy, but, “he knew of dangerous people and a friend of theirs had been poisoned and killed by these people”, hence her anxiety.”

Soon afterwards, it is clear that some form of poisoning had become the default assumption, and from 14 November onwards, radioactive poisoning was strongly suspected. At 3.120e of Owen’s report, on seeing Litvinenko for the first time, cancer specialist Dr Virchis testifies,

“…his presentation was similar to that of a patient suffering from acute leukaemia who had been treated with intensive chemotherapy and total body irradiation prior to a bone marrow transplant. The clinical notes reveal that radiology was to be asked to ‘check radioactive sources of poisoning.’”

It happens that work on establishing a link with Polonium-210 began on the day before Litvinenko died, but by that time, the radiological line of enquiry was firmly established as the front-runner - it featured as such in police communiques and newspaper articles. Hence it is either disingenuous or a bit dim or both for Watson to make out as if somehow there was only a slim chance of investigators identifying Polonium-210 – they would have got to it by a process of elimination, sooner or later. 

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