A Very Expensive Poison

From Wall Street Journal

Liquidating Putin’s Opposition

Polonium 210 is 100 billion times as toxic as cyanide. Its use as a murder weapon was authorized at the highest levels of the Kremlin.

Daniel Johnson reviews “A Very Expensive Poison: The Assassination of Alexander Litvinenko and Putin’s War with the West” by Luke Harding.

By DANIEL JOHNSON
Updated Feb. 26, 2017 10:47 a.m. ET

When Donald Trump was asked in an interview on Feb. 4 whether Vladimir Putin was “a killer,” the president did not deny it. The controversy that followed focused not on the casual admission that the Russian leader had indeed ordered assassinations, but on the implication that Mr. Trump’s own predecessors had done the same: “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. Well, you think our country is so innocent?”

Yet there is a world of difference between the targeted killing of terrorists to which Mr. Trump was apparently referring and the liquidation of one’s political opponents and critics. More than a decade has elapsed since the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko by Russian assassins in a London hotel. Yet the horror it inspired as the victim died a slow and agonizing death in the full glare of publicity has not faded. Indeed, the passage of time has only magnified its significance.

The title of Luke Harding’s gripping account of Litvinenko’s assassination quite rightly highlights the murder weapon: polonium-210, an incredibly rare radioactive isotope almost certainly produced in the Avangard nuclear facility in Russia. It is immensely toxic: 100 billion times as lethal as cyanide. Because access to polonium is restricted, its use by the Russian security service to kill one of their former agents in a Western capital could, it is shown by Mr. Harding, only have been authorized at the highest levels of the Kremlin.
The implications of this are colossal. The judge who presided over the British public inquiry, Robert Owen, concluded that the assassination was “probably” approved personally by the Russian president. Mr. Owen did so in the light of vast quantities of evidence, much of it given in open court but some also, for reasons of national security or the protection of witnesses, in secret. The case against Mr. Putin, his intelligence agencies and their hitmen was built gradually over the years, by detective work and intelligence. As set out by Mr. Harding in this book, it arouses a demonic fascination.
He begins with the two suspected assassins: Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun. They were cold-blooded but incompetent. Mr. Lugovoi, a former Kremlin bodyguard and KGB operative, emerges as a smooth-talking, lascivious psychopath, who thought nothing of risking the lives of his wife and children by bringing them with him as cover on his murderous mission to London. Mr. Kovtun, one of Mr. Lugovoi’s boyhood friends, is a ne’er do well and a blabbermouth. While posing as a waiter in Hamburg, this would-be desperado blurted out his secret to a friend (identified in court only as “D3” for his protection): “I have a very expensive poison. . . . Litvinenko is well protected in London. I intend to lure him out with an interview. And then to poison him.”

That is more or less what happened in November 2006. It required three visits to London before they succeeded in tempting Litvinenko to meet them in the bar of a Mayfair hotel and there to sip a cup of tea laced with polonium. The assassins fled back to Russia, leaving their victim to waste away in a hospital. Before his death, he helped his baffled doctors to identify the source of the alpha radiation that was killing him, but was undetectable by conventional Geiger counters. Nuclear scientists confirmed the diagnosis, and the story became a global sensation when a photograph of the dying man was published.
A far-reaching investigation followed, tracing the trail of lethal radioactivity left by Messrs. Lugovoi and Kovtun all the way back to Moscow. The Russians refused to co-operate, needless to say. Indeed, Mr. Putin rewarded Mr. Lugovoi, who today enjoys legal immunity as a deputy in the Duma, Russia’s puppet parliament, where he has been responsible for cracking down on press freedoms. Mr. Kovtun, by contrast, has disappeared into obscurity.

What had Litvinenko done to prompt the Russian president’s ire? As an officer in the Russian secret service, he had specialized in investigating organized crime and run seriously afoul of his bosses, whom he accused of running a “mafia state.” He fled to England via Turkey with his family in 2000, and while he had been working for MI6, treason alone would not have provoked Mr. Putin to take such a risk. Shortly before he was killed, Litvinenko had been granted British citizenship, making any temptation to brush his death under the carpet impossible for the U.K. Mr. Harding concludes that Litvinenko had detailed evidence of the involvement of the Russian state in organized crime right across Europe, with Mr. Putin as the biggest beneficiary. This made Litvinenko a potential star witness if corrupt Russian officials were ever brought to trial in a country where the rule of law still applied—such as the U.K.

Yet the British government reacted with embarrassment rather than outrage to the murder of a British citizen by a foreign power in the heart of London. Three prime ministers (Tony Blair,Gordon Brown and David Cameron) dragged their feet over making any adequate response. More than seven years passed before the then-Home Secretary—and now prime minister—Theresa May conceded that a public inquiry should take place with the power to hear secret intelligence and only after Litvinenko’s friends and widow had accused the British of colluding with the Kremlin in a cover-up.

Mr. Harding ranges widely, far beyond the Litvinenko case, in “A Very Expensive Poison.” He examines the background to other assassinations that may have been ordered by Mr. Putin, such as the shooting of the opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in 2015 on a bridge within sight of the Kremlin. Nemtsov’s offense appears to have been to detect Mr. Putin’s fingerprints all over the covert operations that led to the annexation of Crimea and civil war in Ukraine. Boris Berezovsky, an oligarch who at first supported but later defied Mr. Putin, not least by supporting Litvinenko’s family, was found hanged in his English country house in 2013. The inquest returned an open verdict.

Reading “A Very Expensive Poison” is a sobering experience. Alexander Litvinenko’s gruesome death proved the point to which he had devoted his life: that the man who controls the Kremlin machine will stop at nothing to silence those who expose his machinations. Presidents who sup with Vladimir Putin should bring a very long spoon indeed.

Mr. Johnson is the editor of Standpoint, the London-based monthly magazine.

The ‘Creepy ‘ Trudeau Hat Trick

First Personal Ethics

He takes freebies in transportation and board and lodging from a person who receives money from his Government. Does that sound wrong to you? Like conflict of interest or  some such idea.

Second , Domestic Policy -Pro Muslum

Favors studying discrimination against Muslims over all other  religious  discrimination . Like there is no anti Semitic stuff around . What about the students at McGill recently?

Third, Foreign Policy/Investment

Agrees with a Chinese Investment company taking over a major senior care company in BC.

When asked by acting Leader of the Conservative Party who owns the company Trudeau answered :

‘Canada is a trading nation that relies on engagement with countries around the world to create good jobs in Canada and to create economic growth,” the PM offered, unhelpfully. “We have a policy that allows us to draw-in global investments to create jobs and opportunities for Canadians while at the same time ensuring that they are in Canadians’ interests, and to the benefit of our country as we move forward in a thoughtful and responsible way. That is exactly what we did in this case.”

Are you any wiser on ownership ? Transparency ? Nope .

Silly to ask such questions . That was for the election campaign and that’s long over.

Now , be good, and throw your hats on the ice!

Canadians Should Start Being Concerned About Motion 103 in Our Parliament

Pamela Geller says:

As the Canadian Parliament prepares to adopt a motion condemning “Islamophobia,” the Canadian media have shifted into high-gear propaganda mode to smear all opposition to this anti-free speech measure as hysterical. Leading the charge in the Toronto Star is Faisal Kutty, who teaches law at Valparaiso University Law School in Indiana and Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto and has numerous ties to groups linked to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Kutty leads off by scapegoating me as the “lunatic fringe” opposing this thought-crushing measure:

“Canadian PM, Justin Trudeau, Smears all Canadians with Islamophobia Lie to Create a Sharia State,” tweeted notorious American Islamophobe Pamela Geller, in reference to M103, a motion debated in Parliament this week.

Unfortunately, such views are not restricted to the lunatic fringe. Several Conservative leadership hopefuls have bought into the “moral panic,” only confirming the importance of the motion. Kellie Leitch, Chris Alexander, Brad Trost and Pierre Lemieux even spoke at a Rebel Media event, which according to organizers, was to oppose “Islamic blasphemy laws” in Canada. Speakers warned that the government planned to silence critics of Islam.

That is obviously exactly what the government plans to do. Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose said she was concerned that charges of “Islamophobia” would be used “to intimidate rather than to inform.” Ambrose added: “I do worry that some of my work trying to empower women and girls in Muslim communities could be branded as ‘Islamophobic’ if I criticize practices that I believe are oppressive.”

Ambrose was absolutely right. That is exactly what happened to me when I placed ads on buses in Edmonton offering help to Canadian girls in danger of honor killing. And that was by no means the only time the Canadian government has moved to silence critics not only of Islam, but of particular Islamic practices, even before this measure was proposed: its passage can only have a chilling effect on the freedom of speech, making Canadians even more afraid than they are now of speaking out against jihad terror and the aspects of sharia that contradict Canadian values.

Just weeks ago, a Montreal man was arrested for “online hate speech targeting Muslims.” What he wrote was not released, but if he wasn’t calling for violence against innocent people, then this was a stunning example of how sharia blasphemy restrictions are already being adopted by foolish and shortsighted authorities in Canada. And this week, protesters outside a Toronto mosque where the imam prayed for killing of unbelievers could face hate crime charges. That’s right: the protesters, not the imam, face such charges.

These things have happened before the anti-Islamophobia motion becomes law. When it does, are Canadians more likely or less likely to stand up to jihad terror and sharia oppression?

Kutty also tries to lull Canadians into complacency when he falsely claims: “There is no monolithic understanding of the Sharia. Like any world view it can be used and abused by people with varying agendas. Developed over 1,424 years in diverse societies, it has manifested itself in a range of views. In fact, the inherent diversity and pluralism of the Sharia may be the best tool we have to counter the violent and antimodern narratives of extremists.”

This is downright false: if there is any system that is not characterized by “diversity and pluralism,” it is sharia. Look around the world: everywhere sharia is fully implemented, it looks the same, with stonings, amputations, oppression of women and non-Muslims, and denial of the freedom of speech. “Diversity and pluralism”? In Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan, and Pakistan? If sharia is so diverse, why do those countries look so drearily similar to one another in their societal mores and legal structures?

Kutty also lies outright when he says: “Respectful criticism of Islam and even Muslim practices is done daily by many, including Muslims. Yet the Islamophobia label is not used, because it is not done with loathing and contempt. Diversity of opinions are a recognized forte of Islamic jurisprudence.”

In reality, Islamic law mandates death for anyone who criticizes Allah, Muhammad, the Qur’an, or Islam. And anyone and everyone who dares say the slightest critical word about Islam or Muslim practices is immediately smeared as an “Islamophobe.”

Notice that Kutty doesn’t give even a single example of this “respectful criticism of Islam and even Muslim practices.” He doesn’t because he can’t.

What Kutty is trying to prevent from knowing is that Canada’s M103 anti-Islamophobia motion would make that “respectful criticism” even harder and bring sharia blasphemy laws that much closer to being implemented in Canada. Considering that he is, according to the excellent Canadian news site Point de Bascule, “one of many North American Muslim scholars recommended by the Saudi Muslim World League,” and has ties to Hamas- and Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups including CAIR and ISNA, that may be exactly what he wants.

Pamela Geller is the president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), publisher of PamelaGeller.com, and author of The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America and Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance. Follow her on Twitter here. Like her on Facebook here.

Notice that Kutty doesn’t give even a single example of this “respectful criticism of Islam and even Muslim practices.” He doesn’t because he can’t.

What Kutty is trying to prevent from knowing is that Canada’s M103 anti-Islamophobia motion would make that “respectful criticism” even harder and bring sharia blasphemy laws that much closer to being implemented in Canada. Considering that he is, according to the excellent Canadian news site Point de Bascule, “one of many North American Muslim scholars recommended by the Saudi Muslim World League,” and has ties to Hamas- and Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups including CAIR and ISNA, that may be exactly what he wants.

Pamela Geller is the president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), publisher of PamelaGeller.com, and author of The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America and Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance.

Such People Should be banished –Governor Jerry Brown and the ‘State ‘ of Governance

Sometimes its better not to get up in the morning .

I just read an article about Governor Jerry Brown of California in the Wall  Street Journal :

‘By JIM CARLTON

Updated Feb. 24, 2017 7:30 p.m. ET

Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday called for tens of billions of dollars to overhaul California’s aging network of dams, highways and other infrastructure, in the wake of devastating rains and snow that nearly collapsed a spillway at Oroville Lake and buckled roads and bridges across the Golden State in recent weeks.

In all, Mr. Brown said California has $187 billion in unmet infrastructure needs, including $50 billion in flood-control work. Failure to invest that money would subject the nation’s most populous state to “apocalypse and absolute disaster, which is a real possibility,” he warned at a Sacramento press conference.

This is the tax and spend fellow who intends to try and evade Federal  Authorities and continue to have sanctuary  cities and towns of illegal immigrants costing untold millions of dollars with the one hand  and then with the other hand beg that same government for $187 billion of new money on infrastructure .

What happened to all that money he has spent to make California the most indebted state? Like his political sister in Ontario he has been too busy catering to the greenies , and the political’ correctees ‘ while the basic real stuff was ignored.

Both should be banished by the electorate.

I wholly disapprove of what you say—and will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Some people in Vancouver , that city of liberal thought and openness on just about everything , are saying that they do not want Pastor Franklyn Graham in their city. They are actually petitioning the city to stop Mr. Graham from coming here. Apparently there is a Religious Gathering at Rogers Arena at which Mr. Graham is suppose to speak. Mr. Graham holds views on homosexuality and Muslims that conflict with the views of these people who are against his attendance.

So we have some people who call themselves Christians who oppose the right of others to speak on matters with they have disagreements.

I wonder what Jesus would say about this given the words and actions that he is reported to have said and done as reported in the New Testament ?

Voltaire , the person who it is alleged  to have first uttered ” I wholly disapprove of what you say–and will defend to the death your right to say it” must be turning over in his grave that centuries after he first uttered the words there is still some question about the idea in a so called democratic country.

A little ‘Round Up’

Back on the Rock and ‘the land God gave to Cain ‘

1.Thanks to the many , many hundreds of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who read my last blog concerning the inept Provincial Government. It was the largest response in a four or five hour span in the life of the blog .

The old country .

2. Now, if someone had said the Conservatives in Britian would win a byelection now, almost everyone would say –no way. Well they did and in a riding that has not seen a Conservative since 1935 . Here is part of the news story carried by the Wall Street Journal :

‘Election results released early Friday showed the Conservative candidate Trudy Harrison took 44% of votes in Copeland, a constituency in northwest England, while Labour’s Gill Troughton came in second with 37% of more than 31,000 votes cast. The election marked the first time a governing party has taken a seat from a rival since 1982 in a byelection.

The Conservative Party wrote in a tweet: “Welcome to Trudy Harrison: Copeland’s first Conservative MP since 1935!” Ms. Harrison said the victory was a “truly historic event.”

Take that all you media elite who have constantly lambasted the Conservatives on their Brexit policy.

When is it going to be realized by these elites that there is life in the nation state . Sovereignty is important. Having some say and feeling that your voice still counts matters. Having bureaucrats in another land dictate matters that affect you directly will never go down well in the Anglo sphere. There is too much of representative government principles in that land , thankfully.

Back in Alberta

3. The Fraser Institute has a new report out showing  how the Alberta deficit is a spending issue. And a separate story about how The NDP Green Agenda in that Province cost one billion dollars just this year. Ah, yes, tis spending alright –and if Alberta is not careful they will join the other basket cases who have gone down that road–California and Ontario . And if not for euros from the rest of Europe  , and a Government pull back on the green stuff , Spain would be wrapped in the morass as well.

When the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine , how nice it is to have some oil and gas around!

Ah! Tis simply wonderful!

Enjoy your day!

Government of Newfoundland and Labrador ‘s Actions Are Embarrassing

The Government of my native Province has once again embarrassed us all.

It seems it is not enough to preside over a catastrophic failed mega project like Muskrat Falls( power from which will see Nova Scotians paying less than Newfoundlanders and Labradorians) , watching it finance  a capital cost rising from $7 billion to over $11 billion and counting , no independent review at the start and none even now , but must now subject us to an embarrassingly lame attempt to curb the explosive size of the public service; an attempt no doubt to try and fool the electorate into believing in their management prowess and heroic attempts to reign in an unacceptable deficit.

This weak action of announcing a 287 reduction of non union personnel ( 90 of these positions were already vacant) highlights the incompetence and leadership vacuum so evident in the last several administrations in the Province.

The Province has gained the dubious distinction of having the largest per capita debt in the country ( $27, 542 , RBC numbers) and the largest public service–94 per 1000 people with the national average being 67. It has a deficit this year of over one billion dollars ( $1.5 billion as of budget update Oct 27, 2016) and projected deficits for the foreseeable future.

And all the Government can do in the non union public service is a saving of $20 million annually? This first year only $5 million?

And the Minister of Finance , Cathy Bennett, according to a CBC Report , is backing away from her commitment of a $250 million saving this year in the overall budget?

‘We want to hit those targets. But as we look at all kinds of different information, there’s a whole number of factors that may require us to think of things a little bit differently,” she said.’

When will reality strike?