Saturday, February 03, 2007

Symposium of Russian Experts Discusses Litvinenko Murder


Front Page Magazine held a January 19, 2207 symposium with scholars, journalists, former Soviet dissidents, a former head of the CIA, and KGB defectors to discuss the Litvinenko murder.
The participants were Oleg Kalugin, Richard Pipes, Vladimir Bukovsky, Jim Woolsey, Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, David Satter, Yuri Yarim-Agaev, and Andrei Piontkovsky.
According to the former KGB officer Oleg Kalugin, "Alexander Litvinenko was assassinated by the Russian security service, and president Putin bears full responsibility for this crime, irrespective of whether he ordered the execution or simply let his subordinate thugs to do the job."
Former dissident Vladimir Bukovsky observed that "in July of this year, the Russian Duma passed a law authorizing the Russian President to use secret services as "death squads" in order to eliminate "extremists" -- even on the foreign territory (Federal Law of 27 July 2006 N 153-F3).
At the same time, the Duma amended another law, expanding the definition of "extremism" to include anyone "libellously" critical of the current Russian regime (Federal Law of 27 July 2006 N 148-F3)."
Harvard professor Dr. Richard Pipes observed that "[t]he affair is very murky but all indications are that Moscow ordered the murder of Litvinenko as it did that of Politkovskaya. They fit a pattern. If it were true, as Moscow claims, that the murder was committed by its enemies in order to discredit Russia, we would have seen far more activity on Russia's part to discover the culprit or culprits."
David Satter, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute is "convinced that Litvinenko was murdered by the Russian intelligence service. No one else had both the motive and the means. Litvinenko was not only murdered. He was tortured to death. This is a message to his colleagues in the FSB about the cost of defecting."
Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, the former acting chief of Communist Romania’s espionage service said, "Nikita Khrushchev condemned Stalin for aiming the cutting edge of his political police against his own people, and he shifted the killing abroad. The “Western bourgeoisie” and “our own traitors” became the Kremlin’s main enemies. Khrushchev ordered the KGB to develop a new generation of weapons that would kill without leaving detectable traces in the victim’s body, and he created units for assassination abroad in all Eastern European foreign intelligence services. I was present when Khrushchev told Romania’s dictator, Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, that killings abroad should be approved only by the country’s ruler, that they should be kept forever a secret, and that after each assassination abroad “we” should surreptitiously spread “evidence” accusing the CIA or other convenient “enemies” of having done the deed, thereby killing two birds with one stone."
Former head of the CIA James Woolsey said, "I'm afraid I have to make it unanimous. Although if this were an isolated case, given the complex facts, it would be imaginable that it was the result of some feud between people in the Russian government and one or more oligarchs and Putin was not involved -- but that seems most unlikely in the current context.
The murder of Politkovskaya, the attack on Gaidar, the imprisonment of Khordokovsy, the proliferation of former intelligence officers in positions of power, the several other killings -- all point toward a Russian state that has regressed to the days of Nicholas I or worse.
I think the most damning fact is that Litvinenko had taken a position on the apartment bombings that were used to justify the second Chechen War. The FSB was extremely clumsy, as David Satter has very effectively chronicled, and the type of explosive used, the one plot that was uncovered (the FSB said it was for "training") and a number of other facts point toward those attacks having been an FSB provocation."
Former Russian dissident and member of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Yuri Yarim-Agaev, said, "Let us describe what happened. British investigative journalist (not spy) and Putin critic Alexander Litvineko was killed in London by (most probably) Russian terrorists. The case is very similar to the Anna Politkovskaya murder, only now it is a British citizen on British territory."
Hudson Institute Visiting Fellow and PEN-club member Andrei Piontkovsky observed, "[w]ithin Russia and beyond her frontiers, assassinations and attempted assassinations are taking place of “enemies of the people”, lists of whom are to found on all of our country’s quasi-fascist websites. It is only going to be possible to continue blaming these murders on the CIA, or the oligarchs Boris Berezovsky (in Great Britain) or Leonid Nevzlin (in Israel), for a few more days, until the British, as seems likely, publicly and officially produce compelling evidence showing that the tracks of Alexander Litvinenko’s murderers lead straight back to Moscow."

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