Doctors in dark on poisoned ex-spy
Shades of Cold-War dirty tricks, this suspicious poisoning of a prominent critic of the Kremlin. In these days of suicide car bombs, and maddened jihadists sawing off the heads of their victims with a sword, it has a certain kind of subtle, old-fashioned charm. But Alexander Litvinenko is just the latest in a series of mysterious deaths, by poison or other means, as outlined in this story

Noirish, James-Bondish, Cold-Warish and mysterious indeed; say what you will about Bin Laden and his band of merry, wierdy-beardy freaks, they tend to be pretty open— obvious, even when they do assassinations. Hell, they shoot video of it, just in time for the 6:00PM Al-Jazzera newscast. This is, to pardon the expression, a blast from the past.
Since the doctors treating Mr Litvinenko are not even sure about the cause of his sudden, and life-threatening illness, the conspiracy theories are flying thick and fast in the community of Russian ex-pats in London… everything from an assassination attempt, to bad sushi to speculation that he did it himself, deliberately.

It does bring back memories of Gregor Markhov, poisoned with a tiny pellet filled with ricin, injected into his leg by an unknown assassin over thirty years ago. The Kremlin insists, of course, that it’s nothing to do with them; it’s a clumsy and unsure method, bound to cause more problems than it solves, being committed on foreign soil and all, and Mr. Litvinenkov is small fry anyway, hardly worth the bother. But still, one might consider the uncomfortable thought. Just how many quiet, poison-based assassinations might have the KGB and its predecessors manage to pull off in the last seventy years or so, without raising the least suspicion at all?

“Sgt. Mom” is a freelance writer and retired Air Force NCO who blogs at www.sgtstryker.com, and lives in San Antonio.

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