Sunday, 14 February 2016

“The public inquiry heard how he began working for Britain’s secret intelligence service. He was paid £2000 a month, and had a handler called Martin, who he used to meet here at Waterstones bookshop in Piccadilly. But his work with western intelligence didn’t get him killed. I was told by a source with knowledge of inside thinking here at MI6, that Alexander Litvinenko was murdered on the orders of the Russian state, because he crossed two distinct ‘red lines’.”

[Archive news footage and voice-over, Sept 1999]

“The smouldering remains of 64 apartments, torn to shreds by a massive explosion.”

Watson: “This was the first red line – the Moscow apartment bombings in 1999. 300 were killed. Vladimir Putin blamed the Chechens, calling it a terrorist attack. Alexander Litvinenko co-wrote a book called ‘Blowing up Russia’.

...largely the work of Yuri Felshtinsky, and financed by Boris Berezovsky. As a former FSB lieutenant-colonel, Litvinenko was brought on board in the hope of lending it a bit more credibility.

Sensationally, it accused the Russian secret service of bombing Moscow themselves, to justify a new war. Russia has always denied this.”

Sensationally, numerous books accused the US government of carrying out the 9-11 attacks, to justify the ‘War on Terror’. The US has always denied this. 

Yuri Felshtinsky: “Somehow this helped President Putin. No one actually was expected to see it this way but the reaction of the population was that we now have to have a strong leader.”

This notion of state responsibility for the September 1999 apartment bombings is baloney. There was a very clear sequence of events in that summer. When NATO's squalid bombing of Kosovo was brought to an end by Russian (and other) efforts to mediate, Chechnya's gangsters in their autonomous republic, which Yeltsin conceded to them in 1996 after they had laid siege to a maternity hospital (you couldn't make it up), mistook Russia's restraint from starting WW3 for weakness, and invaded neighbouring Dagestan. They were very swiftly driven back by the Russian army. Stung however, Chechen thugs decided to blow up apartment buildings in Moscow and elsewhere, in revenge. Unsurprisingly, this irrevocably changed Moscow's hitherto lenient attitude and tanks were sent back to Grozny. After the attempt by Chechens to gain political capital from the threat of blowing up innocent schoolchildren in Beslan in 2004, it might have been assumed that the conspiracy theories about the Moscow apartment bombings would die out completely.

Watson: “I’m told this article that he wrote in July 2006, just four months before he was killed, was the second red line. In it he made some wild allegations, claiming Putin was a paedophile, largely based it seems on this image of the president kissing a boy. The president said there was nothing behind the kiss, but sources said the accusations were dangerous.” [my emphasis]

Self-evidently, regardless of whatever dubious agenda these anonymous ‘sources’ may be trying to tout, this is worthless tittle-tattle.

Watson: “Did you ever say to him, ‘Be careful’?”

Marina L.: “I couldn’t say to him, ‘Be quiet’; it means to change him. I did accept Sasha like a man for what he did with all his personality, and I liked him in this way.”

Watson: “So he wasn’t a traitor in your view?”

Marina L.: “Absolutely.”

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