Presentation on theme: "Spy vs. Spy “Imagine you were a foreign power that wanted to get rid of a dissident who had set up home in London. Would you a) push the trouble maker."— Presentation transcript:
Spy vs. Spy “Imagine you were a foreign power that wanted to get rid of a dissident who had set up home in London. Would you a) push the trouble maker under a bus, b) have him mown down by a hit- and-run driver or c) arrange for him to be poisoned while eating in a crowded restaurant?” ~ The Guardian – 21 Nov. 2006
Alexander Litvinenko Former KGB Agent Former FSB Colonel –Current Russian president, Vladimir Putin, former head of FSB Investigated corruption of police Outspoken critic of the policies of the FSB/KGB as well as of the Kremlin
Alexander Litvinenko Fled to the UK in 2000 and gained political asylum Attempted to publish a book in 2003 detailing the transformation of the FSB into a criminal organization Died on November 23, 2006 in London due to Polonium-210 poisoning –Considered first act of “nuclear terrorism”
Timeline Claimed to have been ordered to murder billionaire tycoon, Boris Berezovsky Accused FSB of Moscow apartment bombings – Attempts to publish two different books implicating the FSB and the Kremlin in criminal activities
Timeline November – Meets Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun at a London hotel. Also meets Mario Scaramella where he received documents about Politkovskaya’s death. Feels sick in evening. 3 November – Admitted to Barnet General Hospital. 11 November – Very bad shape after serious poisoning. 17 November – Transferred to University College Hospital
Timeline 20 November – Moved to intensive care 21 November – Diagnosed as poisoned with radioactive Thallium 22 November – Russia government denies involvement in poisoning 23 November – Litvinenko dies
Timeline November 24 – Statement made from deathbed released to the public. Accused Putin of his death, calling him “barbaric and ruthless.” Statement was typed in English—a language which Litvinenko did not speak. Polonium-210 identified.
Prime Suspects Putin Lugovoi Kovtun Berezovski
Putin's agents and a licence to kill – The plight of Alexander Litvinenko is not a scene from a film or a story from the past. It is from London in 2006….It's not just that the KGB's old habits of disinformation and mischief-making are still with us, but that the organisation's tentacles reach as far and formidably as ever. And who better to supervise this than the taciturn, foulmouthed KGB Lieutenant- General Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.
Dangers that stalk the enemies of Putin –There is no evidence that President Vladimir Putin is personally complicit in the tragedies that sometimes befall his enemies, but vocal opponents of his policies do have a habit of being caught up in often extreme "personal difficulties".
The spy who wouldn't die - Russian assassin plot –Ex-secret police colleagues are believed to have injected his meal with thallium, a highly-toxic colourless and odourless chemical, before it reached his table at Itsu. –Last night Britain and Russia were on the brink of a diplomatic crisis, with Foreign Office chiefs anxiously waiting to see if Scotland Yard could confirm whether agents were involved. If so, it could trigger the biggest bust-up between the countries since President Vladimir Putin came to power.
Daily Mail Terrible effects of poison on Russian spy shown in first pictures –“While the pictures undoubtedly illustrate the extraordinary pain Mr Litvinenko is going through, they will also be used to embarrass the Russian government. –“The pictures of Mr Litvinenko were released to the media yesterday by one of Britain’s leading public relations firms.”
Misc. Headlines Independent on Sunday: Russian defector poisoned in London 'on orders of Moscow' The Mail on Sunday (United Kingdom): KGB 'try to poison man' in sushi bar
Russian Media Where British press has run over 1500 stories about Litvinenko since his poisoning, Russian media has run only a few over 100. Litvinenko case: Russia might sue media for libel
Russian Media Voice of Russia – State-run radio station. –Website featured no news about Litvinenko’s poisoning or death –Focused on stories about scandals and corruption in UK and US politics
Russian Media Mayak National Network – Story went mostly unreported. Channel One / Rossiya – Russia’s two leading television channels reported next to nothing. Bulletins that were aired noted particularly that Litvinenko had been convicted of treason two years following his self-exile.
Dangerous Journalism Stories which may embarrass Putin, the Kremlin, or other federal organizations are closely monitored. In the past 15 years, 44 journalists have been murdered in Russia (3 rd most dangerous nation for journalists).
Dangerous Journalism Anna Politkovskaya was murdered in October –She was a lead reporter of the Chechnya War, and a supporter of human rights and journalistic freedom. –It was her death which Litvinenko was presumably investigating at the time of his own death.
Russian Twist Primary conspiracy theory in Russian media—Berezovsky ordered Litvinenko’s (and possibly Politkovskaya’s) death in order to deal a blow to Putin’s reputation.
Investigations Investigations have been ongoing since the moment of the poisoning. The Scotland Yard police are working with Russian investigators to track down the guilty parties Currently, more and more evidence seems to point back to Andrei Lugovoi (associate of Berezovsky).
Questions Was the media correct in appointing conclusive blame without appropriate evidence? Should more care have been taken with the editing of the stories in order to eliminate political bias?