The Litvinenko Affair revisited

David Habbakuk will be familiar to readers of Col Pat Lang’s blog Sic Semper Tyrannis. He has some very interesting thoughts on the November 2006 death of Alexander Litvinenko over at Yuri Mamchur’s Russia Blog:

Uncritical acceptance of claims by [Oleg] Gordievsky about how Litvinenko died
is particular bizarre — given that he has made different and
incompatible claims at different times, so as a simple point of logic
some of what he has claimed has to be false. A further curious feature
of Gordievsky’s accounts, however, is that much of what he has claimed
directly contradicts central elements of what has become the official
British version of Litvinenko’s death. And in fact, while one would be
ill-advised to take anything Gordievsky says at face value, some of
what he has claimed fits in distinctly better with the publicly
available evidence than the official version does.



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3 responses to “The Litvinenko Affair revisited”

  1. WorldbyStorm avatar

    Gordievsky strikes me as not necessarily the best source in all these matters and yet, that is very interesting. What’s going on?

  2. David Habakkuk avatar
    David Habakkuk

    I certainly would not dream of treating Gordievsky as a reliable source.
    But sometimes people with a record of mendacity tell the truth in a specific instance — the Iraqis on the non-existence of their WMD programmes in the period leading up to the invasion being a case in point.
    What makes the role of Gordievsky and Volodarsky in relation to the Litvinenko affair so puzzling is that, early last year, the British authorities seem to have settled on an ‘official version’ according to which Litvinenko was deliberately poisoned by Lugovoi in the Pine Bar.
    This rested largely on claims about the polonium contamination trail which, it is increasingly apparent, are highly dubious. The more one looks at the evidence, the more plausible Edward Jay Epstein’s suggestion that a cover-up is involved looks.
    Its success so far has depended largely on the credulity of the British press — who in general will sleepwalk their way happily along any path in which disinformation merchants, be they among British intelligence or Berezovsky’s entourage, choose to send them.
    But disinformation operations also depend upon those practising them staying ‘on message’: if liars start telling different stories people may eventually begin asking questions — as I have done.
    So — why have Gordievsky and Volodarsky gone so spectacularly off message?
    Compounding the problem is the extraordinary story which appeared in the Mail on Sunday not long ago, in which Gordievsky complained that an attempt had been made on his life, and accused MI6 of forcing Special Branch to stop its investigation into the case.
    As to the timeline, I have followed up Epstein’s claims in a post at the European Tribune website. The Italian blogger de Gondi, who did invaluable work on the Gordievsky/Scaramella/Litvinenko network, has posted some interesting comments.
    A momentous event is the long article in the Independent last week by Mary Dejevsky, who has also taken up and developed the arguments made Epstein. For once, we have a journalist in the MSM in Britain who applies a proper scepticism to claims made both by officialdom and the disinformation peddlers in the circle round Berezovsky.

  3. WorldbyStorm avatar

    Wow, Tom, it’s circles within circles, isn’t it? Of course if Gordievsky is feeling miffed at MI6… the mind boggles.

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