Russian spy: Conspiracy theories and denial in Russia

GreyWing

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Unfortunately most of the ex russian based exiles are usually involved in some very shady business dealings. The list of potential people who want to do them harm will be long. That includes the Kremlin.

The BBC will be throwing mud before any investigation is done.
 

Chelonian

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The BBC will be throwing mud before any investigation is done.

Yep, breathless comparisons are already being made with the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. This incident might just have been caused by a dodgy kebab. Security services are taking it seriously though.
 

GreyWing

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Yep, breathless comparisons are already being made with the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. This incident might just have been caused by a dodgy kebab. Security services are taking it seriously though.

If they were smart enough to remember they did this before when that other chap died a few years ago. They pumped out the same garbage and it turned out that the guy was bankrupt and owed millions to others, and to the wrong people. I think his was suicide.

BBC quietly dropped it.
 

Chelonian

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The failure to diagnose the cause of the illness of the man and woman in Salisbury seems to be driving the story as much as the man's previous career as an intelligence agent.

Some credible commentators have speculated that it wouldn't make political or strategic sense for the Russian state to act against a low profile individual which it had already pardoned. But double agents generate a lot of enemies in many circles.

The widow of Alexander Litvinenko has stated that it took two weeks to diagnose polonium poisoning in her husband.
 

GreyWing

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The widow of Alexander Litvinenko has stated that it took two weeks to diagnose polonium poisoning in her husband.

Channel 4 showed a program on it that went against the official narrative. It showed why the Russian guy couldn't have done it. If anything, he only became radioactive after the meeting with Alexander Litvinenko. Alexander Litvinenko was also working for another ex Kremlin chappie called Boris Berezovsky who was in with Israeli's who were trying to buy this stuff on the black market. He basically was if the stories are true, a Polonium smuggler. Now I don't know if that is true or not, but it can't hide the fact that the Russian guy who they blame, had zero traces of radiation in anyplace he went before he met him. Whereas Litvinenko did have traces in places he was before he met him.

It is certainly not as clear cut as they make out in the media.

But isn't the contrast in the media so different? A local shop blows up in Leicester and within minutes the BBC immediately rule out terrorism. 3 people arrested for conspiracy to cause an explosion, and again still not terrorism according to the Police and media.

Couple of people fall ill and they can hint that Putin killed him, which he might have done but why not wait for evidence?

Also why not wait until it's a bit warmer and you know we don't need their boat full of gas for another year :D
 

GreyWing

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Unfortunately, there is a lot in the article that just doesn't stand up, it lacks credibility in my opinion.

------------------

Take this for example

"Walton said Russian assassins are often extremely adept at “disguising murder”. They are expert at staging suicides by planting evidence to make victims appear to have been depressed, counter-terror officers told BuzzFeed News, or even using drugs and psychological tactics to drive them into taking their own lives. In the case of state assassinations, Putin’s government had amassed “a suite of chemical and biological agents that were developed for targeted assassinations” so killers could do their work without leaving a trace, a former top-ranking MI6 official said. And Britain’s secret service was hamstrung in its ability to share intelligence pointing to Russian complicity, sources said, because of the need to protect confidential informants."

What the hell are they talking about?

Litvenoko was supposedly killed by radioactive poison that is the most trackable thing on the planet. I'd like to ask the author how that possible links with his view of "leaving no trace".

------------------
or this

"That summer, Scotland Yard received intelligence that Berezovsky was the target of an imminent Russian assassination plot. The would-be killer was a Chechen with FSB links by the name of Movladi Atlangeriev, who landed at Heathrow Airport in June, bought a firearm, and asked to meet Berezovsky. "

Is that seriously how they think it works? Expert assassins try to get guns through airport security on their person or in their luggage? :D

If the Russian's are so tooled up with all this killer poison etc already in the UK, are they seriously suggesting Russia doesn't have an arms safehouse or some firearm for him to use when he gets here? If they don't, then doesn't that kind of hint that they aren't a danger. If they do, then why didn't he just pick it up from there.

-----------------

Finally they said:

"By then, Berezovsky was stoking unrest against the Kremlin right in Russia’s back yard. Documents indicate he pumped about $30 million into Ukraine to help fund the Orange Revolution, the uprising that in 2005 toppled the country’s pro-Kremlin government and undermined Putin’s influence."

OK, so this guy is a guest in our country, under our protection and he's trying to topple democratically elected foreign Governments and our Government is ok with that? That's not far off being considered an act of war.

-------------------


The article just doesn't reign true on so many levels. There is so much that doesn't add up that we could spend all day taking it apart.

These Russian's over were as dodgy as they come, they got themselves involved with some very nasty characters. If they were assassinated then their business dealings are the first place they should look and why the UK Government's over the last 20 years turned a blind eye to laundered Russian money flooding into the city of London and the London property market.

More organised crime that our Government turned a blind eye to, now trying to blame a foreign Government for their failings.

If Putin was behind it - I don't think he would be that bothered by these people. Part of the blame must go to the cry wolf nature of our media. For constantly making accusations without proof. People have just become deaf to it now.
 

Rover

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Always interesting when you start to analyse information and apply logic.
;)
 

Chelonian

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Some interesting content in the BuzzFeed link:

"Russian assassins have been able to kill in Britain with impunity over the past decade, 17 current and former British and American intelligence officials told BuzzFeed News. The reasons for Britain’s reticence, they said, include fear of retaliation, police incompetence, and a desire to preserve the billions of pounds of Russian money that pour into British banks and properties each year."

My bold. The phrase is often used as a eupemism for plain, old fashioned lack of evidence. But why ruin a conspiracy theory with a more plausible explanation? :)
 

Rover

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Sergei Skripal and the 14 deaths under scrutiny

By Joel Gunter BBC News

When Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent, collapsed suddenly on Monday in the sleepy cathedral city of Salisbury, there were unavoidable echoes of a messy, high-profile death in London a little over a decade before.

In 2006, Alexander Litvinenko, another former Russian agent, was rushed to hospital after collapsing in London. As the world watched, a rare and highly radioactive isotope destroyed his organs one by one, killing him three weeks later.

A British public inquiry found that Litvinenko had ingested Polonium 210, and that his assassination was likely ordered directly by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Skripal, 66, who was convicted as a traitor in Russia and later came to the UK as part of a spy swap, is currently in critical condition, along with his 33-year-old daughter who was also taken ill. Authorities say they are trying to determine if he was poisoned.

Russia has denied any involvement, but the case has put renewed scrutiny on a string of deaths in the UK in the past two decades. The chair of the home affairs select committee, Yvette Cooper MP, wrote to Home Secretary Amber Rudd on Tuesday calling for a review of 14 other cases.

Those cases were variously found to have been heart attacks, suicides, accidents, and deaths by natural causes, but some allege that they amount to a pattern of state-sponsored murder on British streets.

Heartbreak grass

Security guard Neil St Clair-Ford was driving through Weybridge in Surrey in November 2012 when he saw something lying in the road ahead of him. He pulled over and found Alexander Perepilichnyy, an exiled Russian banker, in the fetal position, pale, cold, and displaying "very faint" signs of life.

Mr St Clair-Ford called a local former Navy colleague, Liam Walsh, to help administer first aid. Mr Walsh told an inquest that Perepilichnyy vomited "greeny-yellow" bile during mouth-to-mouth resuscitation with a strange taste, like "licking a battery".

Perepilichnyy was born in Ukraine and made his fortune as a financier in Russia, allegedly helping government-connected Russians launder money. In 2010 he fled to Britain and began to co-operate with British authorities. He collapsed during a run near his home, the day he returned from a short trip to Paris.

Initial toxicology tests on Perepilichnyy's body revealed nothing suspicious and it was ruled to be a natural death. But two years later, a fresh round of tests arranged by a life insurance company found traces of a rare and deadly plant toxin in Perepilichnyy's stomach.

Gelsemium, a flowering plant native to China and Southeast Asia, is known as "heartbreak grass", because its leaves, if swallowed, cause cardiac arrest.

US intelligence sources told the BBC at the time that they believed Perepilichnyy was murdered. An extensive investigation by Buzzfeed News claimed that the businessman was one of at least 14 people US officials suspected were killed in the UK by Russia.

'The highest level of risk'

The following year, 2013, Boris Berezovsky, a one-time oligarch and close friend of Vladimir Putin, was found hanged in his bathroom. All the evidence seemed to point to a suicide. He had been suffering from depression and was in debt. According to police there was no sign of a struggle. A Home Office pathologist concluded that his injuries were consistent with hanging.

But he had also made himself a sworn enemy of Mr Putin, having fled Russia for exile in Britain and fiercely criticised the regime from afar.

Berezovsky's family arranged for an asphyxiation expert to examine photographs of his body. Dr Bernd Brinkmann testified that the ligature mark on Berezovsky's neck did not share the typical V-shape created by a hanging, and instead suggested strangling. The dead man also had a broken rib and a cut on the back of his head. It was enough to

"Anyone Putin deems to have betrayed Russia is at the highest level of risk," said Bill Browder, a former Moscow-based financier who led a campaign to impose sanctions on top Russian officials accused of corruption - sanctions that enraged Mr Putin.

"And Russia can get away with brazenness in the UK because there have never been any consequences to Russian assassinations here," he said. "The British government either ignores the crimes completely, as they did in the Perepilichnyy case, or they recognise the crime and don't do anything about it."

Speaking in parliament on Tuesday, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said any evidence of Russian involvement with Mr Skripal's condition would be dealt with "appropriately and robustly".

"I say to governments around the world that no attempt to take innocent life on UK soil will go unsanctioned or unpunished," he said.

Among the other deaths flagged to the home secretary on Tuesday are those of Gareth Williams, the so-called "spy in the bag", whose badly decomposed body was found locked inside a holdall in his bath; Dr Matthew Puncher, a British scientist involved in the Litvinenko case who was found in his kitchen with multiple stab wounds from two separate knives; and Scot Young, a business associate of Berezovsky, who was found impaled on railings outside his London flat after falling from a fourth-floor window.

Williams' death was ruled to be "probably an accident" and Puncher's and Young's both suicides, and British police say they have found no evidence of Russian involvement in any of the cases barring Litvinenko's.

"British police are under no sort of political pressure whatsoever," Tony Brenton, the British ambassador to Moscow at the time of Litvinenko's death, told the BBC. "If they had found evidence of Russian involvement in those cases, we would have followed it up."

But the UK government has faced criticism over a perceived lack of action. In the wake of Litvinenko's death, the UK tried and failed to extradite two Russian agents alleged to have carried out the hit. Instead, several Russian diplomats were expelled, provoking a tit for tat response from Russia.

The problem facing the UK government now, said Mr Brenton, is that ministers have already levied significant sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine and Syria, and diplomatic relations are already very poor.

"If it is proven that this was murder with Russian state involvement, we will of course do something, there will be lots of anger and probably more sanctions. But we have already used up an awful lot of our ammunition. The locker is quite bare," he said.

In a statement, the Russian embassy in London said: "Media reports create an impression of a planned operation by the Russian special services, which is completely untrue."

In Salisbury, counter-terror police have taken over the investigation. The park bench where Mr Skripal collapsed has been cordoned off and a restaurant where he ate lunch has been temporarily closed.

If it turns out to have been a Russian attack, part of the purpose will have been to warn those in Russia against betrayal, and those in exile that they are never safe, said Mr Browder. "It sends a message to the rank and file that terrible things can befall you and your family," he said.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-43299598
 

GreyWing

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Sergei Skripal and the 14 deaths under scrutiny

By Joel Gunter BBC News

When Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent, collapsed suddenly on Monday in the sleepy cathedral city of Salisbury, there were unavoidable echoes of a messy, high-profile death in London a little over a decade before.

In 2006, Alexander Litvinenko, another former Russian agent, was rushed to hospital after collapsing in London. As the world watched, a rare and highly radioactive isotope destroyed his organs one by one, killing him three weeks later.

A British public inquiry found that Litvinenko had ingested Polonium 210, and that his assassination was likely ordered directly by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Skripal, 66, who was convicted as a traitor in Russia and later came to the UK as part of a spy swap, is currently in critical condition, along with his 33-year-old daughter who was also taken ill. Authorities say they are trying to determine if he was poisoned.

Russia has denied any involvement, but the case has put renewed scrutiny on a string of deaths in the UK in the past two decades. The chair of the home affairs select committee, Yvette Cooper MP, wrote to Home Secretary Amber Rudd on Tuesday calling for a review of 14 other cases.

Those cases were variously found to have been heart attacks, suicides, accidents, and deaths by natural causes, but some allege that they amount to a pattern of state-sponsored murder on British streets.

Heartbreak grass

Security guard Neil St Clair-Ford was driving through Weybridge in Surrey in November 2012 when he saw something lying in the road ahead of him. He pulled over and found Alexander Perepilichnyy, an exiled Russian banker, in the fetal position, pale, cold, and displaying "very faint" signs of life.

Mr St Clair-Ford called a local former Navy colleague, Liam Walsh, to help administer first aid. Mr Walsh told an inquest that Perepilichnyy vomited "greeny-yellow" bile during mouth-to-mouth resuscitation with a strange taste, like "licking a battery".

Perepilichnyy was born in Ukraine and made his fortune as a financier in Russia, allegedly helping government-connected Russians launder money. In 2010 he fled to Britain and began to co-operate with British authorities. He collapsed during a run near his home, the day he returned from a short trip to Paris.

Initial toxicology tests on Perepilichnyy's body revealed nothing suspicious and it was ruled to be a natural death. But two years later, a fresh round of tests arranged by a life insurance company found traces of a rare and deadly plant toxin in Perepilichnyy's stomach.

Gelsemium, a flowering plant native to China and Southeast Asia, is known as "heartbreak grass", because its leaves, if swallowed, cause cardiac arrest.

US intelligence sources told the BBC at the time that they believed Perepilichnyy was murdered. An extensive investigation by Buzzfeed News claimed that the businessman was one of at least 14 people US officials suspected were killed in the UK by Russia.

'The highest level of risk'

The following year, 2013, Boris Berezovsky, a one-time oligarch and close friend of Vladimir Putin, was found hanged in his bathroom. All the evidence seemed to point to a suicide. He had been suffering from depression and was in debt. According to police there was no sign of a struggle. A Home Office pathologist concluded that his injuries were consistent with hanging.

But he had also made himself a sworn enemy of Mr Putin, having fled Russia for exile in Britain and fiercely criticised the regime from afar.

Berezovsky's family arranged for an asphyxiation expert to examine photographs of his body. Dr Bernd Brinkmann testified that the ligature mark on Berezovsky's neck did not share the typical V-shape created by a hanging, and instead suggested strangling. The dead man also had a broken rib and a cut on the back of his head. It was enough to

"Anyone Putin deems to have betrayed Russia is at the highest level of risk," said Bill Browder, a former Moscow-based financier who led a campaign to impose sanctions on top Russian officials accused of corruption - sanctions that enraged Mr Putin.

"And Russia can get away with brazenness in the UK because there have never been any consequences to Russian assassinations here," he said. "The British government either ignores the crimes completely, as they did in the Perepilichnyy case, or they recognise the crime and don't do anything about it."

Speaking in parliament on Tuesday, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said any evidence of Russian involvement with Mr Skripal's condition would be dealt with "appropriately and robustly".

"I say to governments around the world that no attempt to take innocent life on UK soil will go unsanctioned or unpunished," he said.

Among the other deaths flagged to the home secretary on Tuesday are those of Gareth Williams, the so-called "spy in the bag", whose badly decomposed body was found locked inside a holdall in his bath; Dr Matthew Puncher, a British scientist involved in the Litvinenko case who was found in his kitchen with multiple stab wounds from two separate knives; and Scot Young, a business associate of Berezovsky, who was found impaled on railings outside his London flat after falling from a fourth-floor window.

Williams' death was ruled to be "probably an accident" and Puncher's and Young's both suicides, and British police say they have found no evidence of Russian involvement in any of the cases barring Litvinenko's.

"British police are under no sort of political pressure whatsoever," Tony Brenton, the British ambassador to Moscow at the time of Litvinenko's death, told the BBC. "If they had found evidence of Russian involvement in those cases, we would have followed it up."

But the UK government has faced criticism over a perceived lack of action. In the wake of Litvinenko's death, the UK tried and failed to extradite two Russian agents alleged to have carried out the hit. Instead, several Russian diplomats were expelled, provoking a tit for tat response from Russia.

The problem facing the UK government now, said Mr Brenton, is that ministers have already levied significant sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine and Syria, and diplomatic relations are already very poor.

"If it is proven that this was murder with Russian state involvement, we will of course do something, there will be lots of anger and probably more sanctions. But we have already used up an awful lot of our ammunition. The locker is quite bare," he said.

In a statement, the Russian embassy in London said: "Media reports create an impression of a planned operation by the Russian special services, which is completely untrue."

In Salisbury, counter-terror police have taken over the investigation. The park bench where Mr Skripal collapsed has been cordoned off and a restaurant where he ate lunch has been temporarily closed.

If it turns out to have been a Russian attack, part of the purpose will have been to warn those in Russia against betrayal, and those in exile that they are never safe, said Mr Browder. "It sends a message to the rank and file that terrible things can befall you and your family," he said.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-43299598

I think they need to boil it down to two questions.

1) Were these chaps deliberately killed by others
and if so
2) Was it state-sponsored or criminality by foreign players?

The journos really need to separate the issues because one doesn't automatically link to the other.

On another note, I can imagine the fallout for the BBC if they reported in a similar fashion (without proof) on the death of Seth Rich who was shot in the back on the streets of Washington after (probably) leaking Clinton's emails to WikiLeaks.
 

Chelonian

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There was a vague suggestion at Prime Minister's Questions earlier today that more news might be released about the evidence samples associated with the incident involving Mr Skripal and his daughter.
A reasonable assumption might be that those in the highest levels of the UK government already know those results and are just now trying to craft a credible reaction.
 

GreyWing

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There was a vague suggestion at Prime Minister's Questions earlier today that more news might be released about the evidence samples associated with the incident involving Mr Skripal and his daughter.
A reasonable assumption might be that those in the highest levels of the UK government already know those results and are just now trying to craft a credible reaction.

Even if they come back now and say it wasn't suspicious. After reading the Buzzfeed and BBC articles, people will just think that it's part of the cover up. It's almost like whoever is behind these articles is trying to box the Government into some sort of action.
 

Chelonian

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It's almost like whoever is behind these articles is trying to box the Government into some sort of action.

Arguably, one of the worst case scenarios for the UK government is an abscence of toxicology evidence associated with the Skripal incident. This will neatly 'confirm' the line taken by mainstream UK media that only a state-sponsored actor would have access to toxins which leave minimal residue.

No apologies for my own speculation here. The internet wouldn't exist without speculation. :)
 

arny01

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More worrying. Obviously the Russian authorities have taken a calculated risk, and found inaction by the British Government more than likely? Carrying out such attacks on British soil is extremely concerning!! And the fact the Russians feel brazen enough to do it, even more so.
 

Chelonian

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If I'm completely honest my sympathy for Mr Skripal and his daughter is limited.
Aside from the wider issues this incident has raised my main concern is for the Police Officer who is critically ill as a result of contamination and for his family.
 

GreyWing

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If I'm completely honest my sympathy for Mr Skripal and his daughter is limited.
Aside from the wider issues this incident has raised my main concern is for the Police Officer who is critically ill as a result of contamination and for his family.

Totally agree mate. At the end of the day, whichever way you look at it, (not the guy's daughter, and isn't an excuse for an attack) those lot were selling secrets from their country to another country. That takes a special kind of arse. No sympathy for them.

Fingers crossed the PC pulls through without any long-term effects.
 

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