The Return of US Decency and Dignity?

It may not be much longer before we can rename the United Stupids to the United States as the will of the people emerges through a viable Democratic opposition plan for disengagement in Iraq and the dismantlement of the heinous, degrading Doodoo torture facilities is proposed.

Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on defense, will formally outline the Democrats’ plan today to antiwar groups agitating for binding action against the war. Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), a subcommittee member who helped arrange the Internet event, said the plan is aimed at tamping down calls from the Democrats’ liberal wing for Congress to simply end funding for the war.The Murtha plan, based on existing military guidelines, includes a stipulation that Army troops who have already served in Iraq must be granted two years at home before an additional deployment, Marines must be given 14 months at home, and any troops sent to Iraq must be those deemed fully trained and equipped under existing military standards. The idea is to slowly choke off the war by stopping the deployment of troops from units that have been badly degraded by four years of combat.

“They won’t be able to deploy troops unless they extend troops overseas. And if we limit the extension, then it’ll be very difficult for them to continue this surge, which the American people are against and the Iraqis don’t want,” Murtha said on yesterday National Public Radio.

The Democrats also intend to shut down the military prisons at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and at Abu Ghraib near Baghdad by denying them funds, and to bar funds that would be used to establish permanent military bases in Iraq.

“The resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq that we passed in fall of 2002 was never intended to authorize the use of American troops to police a civil war,” Ramstad said.”

Not a moment too soon for the United Stupids to regain some appearance of democratic sanity to cloak its imperialism. With criticism from Putin reaching a crescendo as Doodoo militarises countries adjoining Russia, the United Stupids may suffer more than a humiliating defeat in the Middle East if they continue to pursue the fundoneoziocons’ escalation plans for extended military imperialism, which would play into OBL’s hands yet again. Or maybe not. To continue the status quo of an arms-led economic recovery must be very tempting.

Putin, monopolising on a sense of growth in Russian prestige, appears to be increasing his support for the plight of the illegally occupied Palestinian people.

During a meeting with Abbas at Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport, Putin welcomed the Mecca agreements and expressed hopes that the agreements will bring results and promote “formation of an efficient Palestinian government so that an appropriate climate could be established for the lifting of the siege against the Palestinians and for the opening of final status negotiations with the Israelis.”

“The achievement of these goals will create conditions for the lift of the blockade and further steps towards comprehensive settlement of the relations with Israel.”

Putin has also indicated his support for Saudia’s nuclear power plans. As arch-ziotard Netanyahoo preens himself for a new assault on Israel’s top job, these two moves by Putin seem sure to ignite the Zionist lobby who will in turn pressure the United Stupids to confront Russian influence firmly.

The Energo-Fascism of the Future

Here’s an excellent essay on what the very near future may look like in a world dominated by a dwindling supply of oil and a thirst for nuclear power.

Michael Klare examines “energy blackmail in a great-power world and the Big-Brother-style dangers of making nuclear power a major future alternative source of energy.”

An excerpt:

“Surprisingly, there are very few energy haves in the world today. Most notable among these privileged few are Australia, Canada, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Iran, Iraq (if it were ever free of conflict), and a few others. These countries are in an envious position because they do not have to pay stratospheric prices for imported oil and natural gas and their ruling elites can demand all sorts of benefits — political, economic, diplomatic, and military — from the foreign leaders who come calling to procure copious quantities of their energy products. Indeed, they can engage in the delicious game of playing one foreign leader against another, as Kazakhstan’s President, Nursultan Nazarbayev

— a regular guest in Washington and Beijing — has become so adept at doing.

Pushed even further, this pursuit of favors can lead to a quest for political domination — with the sale of vital oil and natural gas supplies made contingent on the recipient’s acquiescing to certain political demands set forth by the seller. No country has embraced this strategy with greater vigor or enthusiasm than Vladimir Putin’s Russia.”

Luguvoy and the Timeline Change

Although Lugovoy has insisted that the meeting with himself, Kovtun and Sokolenko and Litvinenko occurred after Litvinenko’s rendevous with Scaramella at Itsu, it seems the timeline is being fixed by the media despite Scotland Yard not having released an “official timeline.”

“Investigations in Britain have focused on the Pine Bar at London’s Millennium Hotel, where Litvinenko held a morning meeting over tea and gin with three fellow Russians on Nov. 1 — the day he fell ill.

Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper said police were testing a teacup and dishwasher at the hotel for signs of radiation.

Andrei Lugovoi, also an ex-Soviet agent, Kovtun and Vyacheslav Sokolenko, the head of a private Russian security firm, joined the meeting in the hotel;s intimate, blond oak-paneled bar.”

Regardless whether the Millenium Hotel meeting preceded Itsu or otherwise, according to the Times, Litvinenko *still* went straight to Berezovsky’s office after Itsu.

“The documents passed between Scaramella and Litvinenko at Itsu also appear to have been contaminated.

After the meal, the Russian hurried to Berezovsky’s nearby office where he appeared, according to a well-informed source, in an ‘œagitated’ state.
He showed the documents to Berezovsky, who skimmed through them and passed them to a colleague. Litvinenko then photocopied them. Tests later found traces of radiation on the photocopying machine.”,,2087-2484295_5,00.html

Why wasn’t Berezovsky contaminated? Everyone else who was associated with Litvinenko that day became contaminated including 7 staff at the Millenium Hotel, yet Berezovsky is apparently clean despite supposedly “skimming through” the contaminated documents.

Luguvoy has also worked for Berezovsky.

“Both men served in the KGB but did not know each other at the time. They met in 1996, by which time Mr Lugovoi was working as head of security for ORT, a television channel owned by the Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky. Mr Litvinenko was also employed by the billionaire.”;jsessionid=KWBSCAZDEKIZRQFIQMGSFGGAVCBQWIV0?xml=/news/2006/11/24/npoison224.xml

There’s been skulduggery in the past at ORT:

“Georgian tycoon, close associate of Boris Berezovskii. Cf. Klebnikov, Godfather of the Kremlin, 262: “Often Berezovskii acted in Chechnya through Badri Patarkatsishvili, the Logovaz partner who, according to the Russian security services, had long served as the company’s primary intermediary with organized crime groups.” Klebnikov reports (161, cf. 331) that Moscow police heard in early 1995 from a gangster that “he had been approached by Berezovsky’s aide, Badri, with a contract for Listyev’s assassination.” (In February 1995 Listyev, the director of Russia’s most important TV network ORT, was shot dead in his apartment building.)”

Did Luguvoy know too much? was he involved in the above assassination or does he have critical information about it?

Additionally, as evidenced in this 2005 article, Berezovsky has plenty of motive for discrediting Putin.

“Having an Israeli citizen at the highest levels of the Russian government is ideal, from Israel’s point of view. In Berezovsky they had such a man. The Jerusalem Post article mentioned above is revealing. It describes Berezovsky as “the Godfather of the Oligarchs’ and Kingmaker of Russia’s Politics'” and reports Berezovsky’s statement that “Putin’s Russia is dangerous for Israel.”



Was Litvinenko poisoned more than once? If the source of contamination was the document which Scaramella gave him, possibly not. Litvinenko would however have been poisoned each time he read/touched the document. Still don’t know whether Litvinenko was a smoker though.

“The battle to besmirch or lionise the memory of Mr Litvinenko came as Scotland Yard detectives were investigating whether the former KGB lieutenant-colonel was the victim of multiple attacks on 1 November -­ the day he fell ill. The Independent has learnt that toxicology tests have revealed two separate “spikes” of polonium-210 contamination, indicating that he was attacked twice.

Detectives believe that Mr Litvinenko could have been targeted at the Itsu sushi restaurant, where he met the Italian academic Mario Scaramella, and the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair, where he met two Russian business contacts ­ Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun. Mr Lugovoi and Mr Kovtun have also been contaminated with polonium-210 and are suffering from radiation sickness in a Moscow hospital.”

“Evidence that a PR counter-attack was under way came in lengthy tape recordings broadcast by Channel One of conversations between Mr Litvinenko and Boris Berezovsky, the exiled oligarch who was the former spy’s ally and financial sponsor. The recordings sought to suggest that Mr Litvinenko was inventing allegations that would help his patron in return for “a fee” . The programme, The Person and The Law, alleged that Mr Berezovsky had cut his monthly allowance to the former agent from $5,000 to $1,500 and he had money problems.”

“Mr Lugovoi, who had previously shied away from all publicity, went so far as to hold a televised press conference to issue his denial of any involvement in Mr Litvinenko’s murder and promptly took his family off to be tested for exposure to the radioactive isotope.

He said afterwards: “Traces were found even on my children and on my wife. To think that I would handle the stuff and put them at risk is simply ludicrous.””

“For the next three years, Mr Lugovoi became a vital part of Mr Berezovsky’s empire, recruiting to his security operation former KGB colleagues such as Vyacheslav Sokolenko, who was also among those who travelled to London.

When Mr Berezovsky suddenly fell out of favour and fled to Britain in 2000, Mr Lugovoi was caught in the backlash. In 2002, he was jailed for 14 months on charges related to unproven fraud allegations against his former employer.

The perception that Mr Lugovoi has “done time” for Mr Berezovsky has been highlighted as one reason why his involvement in the murder of Mr Litvinenko, a close ally of the oligarch, is unlikely.

But the Yard is understood to be looking closely at the theory that Mr Lugovoi, whether with his knowledge or not, was used as a cover by Mr Litvinenko’s assassins.

The two men met 13 times in London this year to discuss various business ventures and swap intelligence, including at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair on 1 November, the date when Mr Litvinenko fell ill.

The traces of polonium-210 found in Mr Lugovoi and at various locations such as Arsenal’s Emirates stadium, where Mr Lugovoi and his partner, Dmitry Kovtun, watched a match with CSKA Moscow on 1 November, could emanate from contact with Mr Litvinenko on that day.

But there is also evidence the polonium was in London for at least a week before 1 November and could have been brought into Britain by a member of Mr Lugovoi’s party on a previous trip. A British Airways flight and five rooms in a hotel, the Sheraton Park Lane, used by Mr Lugovoi and his party on 25 October have tested positive for polonium-210.

Mr Lugovoi has said: “Someone is trying to set me up.””

” By 1994, Berezovsky had moved beyond dependence on mobster protection. He had forged a more potent alliance by paying for the publication of Boris Yeltsin’s memoirs, thus gaining entree to the inner circle around the grateful author/president. This court was populated with strange figures, such as the “hippie journalist” Valentin Yumashev, through whom Berezovsky obtained his entree; Yeltsin’s tennis coach, who ran a large criminal empire of his own from a Kremlin office; not to mention Alexander Korzhakov, for a while the powerful chief of Yeltsin’s Praetorian guard who later reported that Berezovsky had asked him to kill a business rival. Korzhakov performed great services to history by his assiduous bugging of everyone’s phones, leaking the tapes when it seemed useful, and by his forthcoming reminiscences once he had fallen from his master’s graces.

Once inside “the family,” Berezovsky masterfully parlayed political connections into cash. Key to his modus operandi was the realization (shared by many of his peers in the rising business oligarchy) that it was not necessary to control a business, simply its cash flow. In a remarkably candid 1996 interview with Klebnikov he termed this approach the “privatization of profit” A fascinating chapter lays out in detail, complete with the transcripts of bugged phone Calls, how this method was successfully applied to the looting of Aeroflot, the formerly profitable state airline. Thanks in part to the appointment of Yeltsin’s son-in-law as the company’s head, Berezovsky was able to siphon off huge chunks of Aeroflot’s considerable hard currency earnings through a series of shell companies in Switzerland.

From aviation, Berezovsky moved on to the really big money in Russia–oil. His entry into the oil business was facilitated by the most egregious of all the great ripoffs that have charactarized post-Soviet Russia, the “loans for shares” scheme by which our hero and his fellow oligarchs helped themselves to priceless chunks of the country’s resources, for pennies on the dollar, in return for financing Yeltsin’s re-election in 1996. Following that free, but hardly fair, election, the godfathers increased his political profile, taking various high-level government posts (without of course ceasing his business operations for a second). It was at this time that his interest in Chechen matters re-emerged, in the form of lavish ransom payments to kidnappers in Chechnya for the retrieval of their victims. Klebnikov points out that this flow of money to the gangs in the devastated territory effectively made it impossible for the elected Chechen leader to stabilize his country. The consequent anarchy, culminating in the invasion of Dagestan in the summer of 1999 by fundamentalist Islamist Chechens, provided the backdrop for the second Chechen war and the rise to power of Vladimir Putin. Klebnikov suspends judgment as to whether any of the leadership in Moscow had a hand in the terrorist bombings in the capital that provided the final pretext for the invasion of Chechnya last year, although George Soros has been less demure, heavily hinting in an article in the New York Review of Books that Berezovsky deliberately fomented the war in furtherance of his political intrigues.”

“Last Sunday, The Observer carried an allegation by a Russian woman named Julia Svetlichnaya that Mr Litvinenko was a blackmailer. She went on television yesterday to repeat her claim that he had planned to blackmail an unnamed Russian oligarch.

Ms Svetlichnaya is believed to have been employed as communications manager for Russian Investors, a state-owned agency in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia. Her name was removed from the company website on Sunday.

Mr Zakayev hit back at the newspaper allegation and said: “I can unequivocally state that Alexander Litvinenko has never, under any circumstances, tried to blackmail anyone. Everything that he knew, all the information that he had, he published in the two books that he wrote, in the press or on the internet.” ”

Very suss and a possible black mark on Putin.

A new story just come out with some Russian commentary.

“Experts have said that as little as three millicuries (a microscopic dose) of polonium-210 is enough to kill, and the cost of producing such a dose is about one million dollars. Mr Litvinenko’s autopsy is said to have revealed that the dose he ingested would have cost closer to $40 million to produce.

Before his fateful meeting at the Pine Bar, Mr Litvinenko also met with Italian security consultant Mario Scaramella for lunch at the Itsu sushi restaurant in Piccadilly. Mr Scaramella had arranged the meeting to warn Mr Litvinenko that his life was in danger, based on information he had received via email. Mr Scaramella later suffered a brief illness and was admitted to hospital, where he was found to have ingested “significant amounts” of polonium-210. His condition improved and he has been released. Meanwhile, no traces of the substance have been detected in either the Itsu restaurant’s staff or premises.

Vladimir Simonov, a political commentator for the Russian News and Information Agency Novosti has questioned the murder/assassination theory in the Litvinenko poisoning. He argues that $40 million is high for any professional hit, and that Mr Litvinenko posed no real threat to the Russian government. Moreover, polonium-210 leaves an easily detectable radioactive trail that leads back to operatives and the original source.

Mr Simonov believes Mr Litvinenko may have been smuggling polonium-210 because he “badly needed money”, “œmade a bit on the side by smuggling toxic isotopes”, and “wanted to earn from the transaction”. Mr Simonov also states that on the day of his poisoning, Mr Litvinenko visited Boris Berezovsky, an exiled Russian businessman and “key wheeler and dealer of the Yeltsin era
, and left traces of the radioactive isotope in Mr Berezovsky’s office.

Apart from accidental self-contamination, Mr Simonov further suggests that Mr Litvinenko may have been murdered by Mr Berezovsky because he ‘knew too much’ about fraud charges pending in Russia and ‘œposed a threat to the exiled oligarch’. He said a memorandum of cooperation between Russia’s Deputy Prosecutor General and Scotland Yard does not bode well for Mr Berezovsky, who may have figured that ‘a dead acquaintance is better than a living friend who talks too much’.

In an alternative scenario, Mr Simonov cites a recent television broadcast in Russia in which Mr Litvinenko was linked with ‘an underground London laboratory where a dirty nuclear bomb was being made for Chechen terrorists’. He also states that: (1) ‘One of Litvinenko´s close friends was Akhmed Zakayev, the former commander of Chechen fighters, whom Russian prosecutors want to see in Moscow in connection with cases of murder and torture in Chechnya’; and (2) ‘About two years ago, Berezovsky told the world that Chechen separatists had acquired a portable nuclear bomb and lacked only one minor detail. That “minor detail” could be polonium-210.'”

Spies in the Sushi Bar

So what was the method of delivery of the polonium to Litvinenko?

It seems he did leave his food to visit the loo during the meal at Itsu.

“A waitress at the Itsu restaurant said Litvinenko had been served sushi in a sealed box, but that he did leave it to visit the toilet.

Scotland Yard pinpointed the Sushi bar after tracking the former KGB agent’s movements from his home in Muswell Hill, north London.

By using information from his mobile phone records, Oyster travel card and CCTV footage, detectives plotted his route through London to Piccadilly tube station.

Locations along the way have been tested for radiation contamination, but all proved negative.

Ela Malek, 22, a Polish waitress who said she served Litvinenko, told the Sun he arrived alone before being joined by a man – Scaramella. She was convinced Litvinenko’s meal could only have been spiked after it was presented to him.

“The food is prepared in the kitchen and is put in a box with a clear lid, which is sealed with a label.”

“I know everyone in the kitchen and there’s no way they would be involved in this. Once the box is sealed it is taken straight to the customer.”

“At one time I think Litvinenko went to the toilet, leaving his food on the table. I suppose anyone could have slipped something in then.”

This NZ story at least gets the timeline right, as opposed to the Times and BBC.

The 12 locations where traces of contamination have been discovered:

* Itsu sushi restaurant, Piccadilly – Believed to be where Litvinenko was poisoned with radioactive Polonium 210. Litvinenko met Mario Scaramella, an Italian academic, for a meal on November 1, the day he fell ill.

* Millennium Hotel, Grosvenor Square – After the sushi meal Litvinenko met two Russian contacts – Andrei Lugovoy, a former KGB bodyguard who runs a security company, and a man named Andrei Lugovo. (My comment: There were supposedly three men there – Lugovoi and two business associates, Dmitri Kovtun and Vyacheslav Sokolenko.)

* Litvinenko’s home, Muswell Hill, north London – Accommodation provided by Boris Berezovsky, an exiled Russian millionaire and critic of President Putin.

* A car in Muswell Hill, north London – Used by a neighbour of Litvinenko to take him to hospital.

* Barnet General Hospital – Several hours after his meetings on November 1, Litvinenko complained of feeling sick and was admitted to the hospital in north London.

* University College Hospital – On November 18 Litvinenko was transferred to the hospital in central London as his condition deteriorated.

* 25 Grosvenor St – Traces of Polonium 210 have been found at this address which houses the headquarters of international security company Erinys, visited by Litvinenko. (My comment: Erinys has associations with Haliburton)

* 58 Grosvenor St – Office buildings found to be contaminated, not clear what links with Litvinenko.

* 7 Down St – Traces of Polonium 210 found in the office of Berezovsky. (My comment: Lugovoy went there.)

* Sheraton Hotel, Park Lane – Low level radioactive contamination found at the five-star hotel. One of Litvinenko’s contacts is thought to have visited there. (My comment: Luguvoy has admitted this and says he’s being framed – Lugovoy may have been contaminated from Oct 25)

* Low levels of radioactive traces found on two grounded British Airways Boeing 767 aircraft at Heathrow.

Berezovsky has thrown the scent toward Lugovoy. Lugovoy says he’s being framed.

Meanwhile, Cheney goes to Saudia

Whilst the intrigue of Litvinenko’s poisoning titillates and frightens the British public, the Great Game continues quietly and malevolently elsewhere.

Note that if the Litvinenko affair is an attempt to discredit Putin and to restrict Russia’s power on both negotiations on supply of energy to Europe and sanctions on Iran, this would be an ideal time for Cheney to attempt his coup de grace. Cheney does have connections with Scaramella via the Environmental Crime Prevention Program (ECPP) cum black ops front Washington-based organisation which Scaramella heads.

Ugly it is, but quite credible considering the criminal machinations emanating in the past few years from the Cheney clique. Machiavelli has nothing on Cheney. Divide and conquer and perpetuate eternal war to bolster the only industry keeping the United Stupids afloat financially – armaments.

From :

“A well-placed and highly reliable source has provided the following account of Vice President Dick Cheney’s Nov. 25, 2006 visit to Saudi Arabia. The report coincides with other evidence of a scheme to induce the United States to self-destruct. While the source may have missed some elements of the picture emerging from the Cheney visit, the essential details appear to be accurate.

1. The essential message delivered to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah by Vice President Cheney was that there is no basis for dialogue with Iran. The U.S. position in the region has been weakened, and therefore a new security architecture must be established, particularly in the Persian Gulf, to contain and counter Iran’s growing influence. Already, NATO has been in dialogue with Qatar and Kuwait, in pursuit of closer, upgraded cooperation. Cheney proposed to establish a new regional balance of power, through a Sunni Arab alliance with Israel, to confront the Iranian threat. Cheney argued that to negotiate with Iran at this time would be tantamount to surrender. A new military organization will be built, involving the Gulf Cooperation Council states, Egypt, and Jordan. NATO and the United States will be closely involved, and Israel will be a de facto participant. These moves led by Cheney obviously aim to preempt adoption by the Bush Administration of any recommendations from the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group, to initiate diplomatic talks with Iran.

2. Cheney took the lead in proposing this new security architecture. There is, at this point, a consensus inside the Bush Administration to pursue this policy. When President Bush arrives later this week in Amman, Jordan, to meet with Iraq’s Prime Minister Maliki, he may also hold secret talks with several senior Syrian officials. In that meeting, President Bush will bluntly offer Syria the opportunity to break its ties to Iran and join in the emerging Sunni Arab bloc.

3. The approach to Syria coincides with a major effort, within Lebanon, to force Michel Aoun to break his alliance with Hezbollah, in the wake of the assassination of Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel. Over the weekend, there was a meeting of leading Maronites, sponsored by Patriarch Sfeir, aimed at tightening the pressure on Aoun to break with Hezbollah, and join a Sunni Arab, Christian, Druze coalition to counter Hezbollah’s power. Were the Syrians to accept the Bush offer (highly unlikely), they would be expected to pressure Hezbollah to disarm, as a condition for negotiations to get the Golan Heights back from Israel.

4. Condi Rice’s planned meeting with Mahmoud Abbas and Ehud Olmert is aimed at kick-starting the Israeli-Palestinian talks. But the key to the Israeli policy will be to complete the construction of the wall, and to build similar walls of separation along the border with Lebanon. The argument is that both Hamas and Hezbollah represent extensions of Iran’s influence into the areas bordering on Israel, and they must be contained. The “peace” offer being put on the table will center on these walls of separation.

5. Iran is already aware of these Cheney-led initiatives. While Arab governments will assume that Iran will react and respond to the attempt to create this Sunni Arab-U.S.-Israel security architecture to confront Iran by playing for sectarian conflict in Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere, sources caution that Iran is taking a more sophisticated view. Recurring statements by President Ahmadinejad are calculated to instigate an Israeli attack on Iran’s purported nuclear weapons sites. Iran anticipates some kind of attack on these sites–either by the United States or Israel. Iran would prefer an Israeli attack for several reasons. First, the U.S. has far more significant military capabilities to strike Iran than Israel does. Second, any Israeli attack on a Muslim country would trigger a revolt on the Arab streets. Iran carefully studied the response of the population throughout the Persian Gulf and Arab world to the Israeli attacks on Lebanon this summer. They anticipate massive Arab support, across the sectarian Shi’ite-Sunni divide, for Iran, in the event of an Israeli strike.”