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The Litvinenko Operation Part 2: The Dublin (or Maynooth) Connection. November 30, 2006

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Espionage, Medical Issues, Russia.
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Clearly the Litvinenko affair has broadened and deepened. Now we discover that radioactive traces – in some cases more than traces have been found on three, perhaps four aircraft. Seemingly numerous locations around London also have similar traces. Meanwhile we now have a Dublin Connection with the strange illness of former First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Yegor Gaidar. Gaidar was taken ill last Friday at a Russo-Hiberno (if I can coin a phrase) Conference in Maynooth where he was also launching his new book. Journalist Conor O’Clery of the Irish Times detailed on Channel 4 News how Gaidar had become extremely ill during a talk being forced to run from the room where he promptly was violently sick for some time. I think in his overly detailed description O’Clery recounted blood coming from Gaidar’s nose. In any event medical authorities believe that he seems to be suffering from some form of poisoning. A remarkable coincidence in view of the Litvenenko poisoning.

Gaidar is an interesting character. Former Communist turned free market evangelist, in some respects it’s not unfair to see him as the architect of later economic problems due to his extremely liberal reforms in the early 1990s. Since he left power in 1994 he was for a time politically active, albeit in parties of declining significance, but went back to his previous career of researcher.

So what to make of this? Well, rather like Litvinenko, it’s hard to the neutral eye to see Gaidar as an immediate threat to Putin or Russia. Why go to the trouble or effort of transporting radioactive materials hither and yon to remove two rather peripheral players? Why make such a meal of this transport to the point that radiation is left on aircraft. Again on Channel 4 News it was noted that it is relatively easy to contain these substances so there is no leakage.

Unless of course this is deliberately portrayed as a botched job in order to deflect attention away from those responsible. And this is where this tails off into the improbable on all levels. As easy to say that it’s a deliberate ploy to make Putin look bad. How can we judge?

I mentioned (and was perhaps somewhat reasonably taken to task by JCSkinner for appearing unfeeling of Litvinenko’s death which I’m certainly not – it’s tragic for him and his family) previously how this was reminiscent of the Cold War. But in a way it’s not. The Cold War was never this unhinged, never this unpredictable. Yes there was the incident with Mharkov, but that was more remarkable for being atypical than commonplace. Indeed it’s perhaps telling that it was carried out by one of the proxy states in the Warsaw Bloc. Generally speaking Cold War espionage was muted, below the surface and played out with remarkable precision by the competing powers.

This is different, very different.

A final thought on the matter, if a tiny quantity of such radioactive material can cause this level of unease, it’s chastening to consider what those with grander ambitions might do given the opportunity. And gloomily intriguing that it hasn’t happened to date.

Now I’m away to catch up on The State Within, because as I implicitly noted in the earlier post sometimes the comforts of fiction are…well…just more comforting than a real world of radioactive passenger aircraft.

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Comments»

1. Wednesday - December 1, 2006

As I’ve said on the politics.ie thread, I seriously doubt Putin had anything to do with Litvinenko’s death, and certainly not with Gaidar’s illness (which hasn’t even been confirmed as a poisoning yet). It’s possible it was rogue FSB agents. But the consensus among the people I know who are actually in or from Russia is that Litvinenko’s murderer is more likely to be someone in the emigre community in London.. one of Berezofsky’s crowd if not BAB himself.

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2. JC Skinner - December 1, 2006

As previously stated, it remains to be seen whether Gaidar has also been poisoned. I’d be inclined to hold fire on judging that until more evidence comes to light personally.
I hope you didn’t feel that my post in relation to Litvinenko was unfair. But I did think you were being overly flippant in relation to the man’s death. I’m glad to see that that is no longer the case.
It is indeed a tragedy for the man’s family and friends, but more seriously it poses major questions about post-Soviet Russia as it begins lurching towards a post-Putin phase.

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3. WorldbyStorm - December 1, 2006

Some see this as a precursor of a soft coup. Although I imagine if Putin wishes to remain that wouldn’t be difficult. Yeah, it doesn’t look as if Gaidar is connected.

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