Musings on World events from the perspective of a Social and an Economic Liberal.
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The Indictment of Vladimir Putin
Sir Robert Owen, as expected, has today filed his report into the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. The conclusions are stark:
1. I am sure that Mr Litvinenko did not ingest the polonium 210 either by accident or to commit suicide. I am sure, rather, that he was deliberately poisoned by others.
I am sure that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun placed the polonium 210 in the teapot at the Pine Bar on 1 November 2006. I am also sure they did this with the intention of poisoning Mr Litvinenko.
I am sure that the two men had made an earlier attempt to poison Mr Litvinenko, also using polonium 210, at the Erinys meeting on 16 October 2006.
I am sure that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun knew that they were using a deadly poison (as opposed, for example, to a truth drug or a sleeping draught), and that they intended to kill Mr Litvinenko. I do not believe, however, that they knew precisely what the chemical that they were handling was, or the nature of all its properties.
5. I am sure that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun were acting on behalf of others when they poisoned Mr Litvinenko.6. When Mr Lugovoy poisoned Mr Litvinenko, it is probable that he did so under the direction of the FSB. I would add that I regard that as a strong probability. I have found that Mr Kovtun also took part in the poisoning. I conclude therefore that he was also acting under FSB direction, possibly indirectly through Mr Lugovoy but probably to his knowledge. 7.
The FSB operation to kill Mr Litvinenko was probably approved by Mr Patrushev and also by President Putin.
What he is saying is that it is beyond reasonable doubt that Alexander Litvinenko- a British Citizen, incidently- was murdered by Lugovoy and Kovtun and that this was very probably done at the direct orders of the Russian government, and specifically the then head of the FSB and Vladimir Putin.
As always Putin, even when a smoking gun is so obvious, will probably deny everything. The problem is that the truth is inexorably coming closer and closer to the Kremlin, and with it comes another step to the allegations made by Litvinenko that Putin so feared.
By Special Request of Baroness Scott and Mark Valladares... Cicero's Songs returns: bigger, longer and uncut. October 1st marked the half way point of the
Estonian Presidency of the European Union. Perhaps for many people such an anniversary is
of passing interest at best. Yet the
conduct of the Estonian Presidency is reinforcing just how forward looking and
innovative the most northerly of the Baltic States has become. Estonia is a country that wants to live in the future, and
with its openness and innovation, that future seems a lot closer than almost
anywhere else in Europe It is not that Estonia does not “do” the past: the
picturesque cobbled streets of old Tallinn have tourist crowds a-plenty enjoying
the mediaeval architecture in an Indian summer of sunshine and blue skies. The real point is that Estonia refuses to be
a prisoner of its past. Lennart Meri, Estonia’s President in the 1990s- who spent
years of his childhood in Siberia- once told me that the country had to
It is a basic contention of this blog that Donald J Trump is not fit for office.
A crooked real estate developer with a dubious past and highly questionable finances. he has systematically lied his way into financial or other advantage. His personal qualities include vulgarity, sexual assault allegations and fraudulent statements on almost every subject.
He lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes.
He has, of course, been under criminal investigation practically since before he took the oath of office. The indictment of some of closest advisers is just the beginning. His track record suggests that in due course there is no action he will not take, whether illegal or unconstitutional in order to derail his own inevitable impeachment and the indictments that must surely follow the successful investigation of Robert Mueller into his connections with Russia.
However, all of that is a matter for the American people.
It is also a matter for the American people that Trump is cheating…
The last few years has seen a spate of "scandals" about the use of off-shore tax havens. The hacking and subsequent leaking of data about who does and does not hold assets in off-shore jurisdictions has become an old perennial in the British press, rather like the "COLD weather happens in winter and QUITE HOT weather happens in summer", whose alarmist capital letter laced headlines are such a lazy part of contemporary "journalism".
The increasing sophistication of the hackers, whether Russian-inspired or not, has resulted in a steady trickle of information becoming a torrent. After the relatively filleted release of data in the so-called "Panama Papers", the data release of the "Paradise Papers" is even larger. Of course, just natural curiosity dictates that the off-shore ownership, or even just "ownership", of assets is of general public interest. Celebrities, from the Royal family to the cast of Mrs Brown's Boys, are …