Polonium trail

Alex Goldfarb, quoted in the Times:

“These two people [Andrei Lugovoy and Dmitri Kovtun] are playing games because they know that their bluff will not be called. They want to create a positive PR effect and make it appear as if they are ready to cooperate with the investigation.”

Finnish Islamists back Russia

The possibility that Islamist movements in Europe and probably also further afield to some extent work in harmony with the Putin/Medvedev schemes in the field of military and foreign policy is evidenced by an interesting statement by the Finnish Islamic Party (Suomenislamilainenpuolue), which aims to represent the interests of Finland’s small Muslim minority. The statement condemns the “aggressive acts of the Georgian leadership” and gives the party’s full support to Russia. It also makes a savage attack on the president and government of Estonia, and demands that President Saakashvili be put on trial for war crimes. Although Finland’s Muslims are mostly Tatars, and have little time for fundamentalist ideology, the document is a curious and revealing indicator of the sort of sources where the Kremlin may really be deriving support in today’s world. The fact that the Hamas organization was the first to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia may not be a coincidence.

That some voices in Finland may be helping to foment a movement which they call a “Russian Intifada” among Estonia’s Russian-speaking minority is shown by this blog, which is dedicated to the subject.

There has long been a noted connection between the Kremlin and Islamist groupings, and it is no secret that, as Alexander Litvinenko pointed out before he was brutally murdered in London, Al-Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri trained at a Federal Security Service (the former Russian KGB) base in Dagestan in 1998.

A Victim of the State

In the aftermath of the assassination in London of the British citizen Alexander Litvinenko, the claims that the British television presenter Jill Dando was in fact killed by a Serbian hitman begin to make more sense – particularly in view of yesterday’s acquittal of Barry George, and the upcoming war crimes trial of Radovan Karadzic at the Hague. In 2001 the Independent newspaper published an article about the Serbian connection to the case. Excerpt:

Michael Mansfield, QC, who is defending the man accused of her murder, Barry George, told the Old Bailey that there was evidence to suggest that Miss Dando, who was shot dead on the doorstep of her home in south-west London on 26 April 1999, had been a victim of state terrorism. He argued that Ms Dando may have become a target after she presented a television appeal for aid for Kosovan refugees and then days later Nato fired a cruise missile at a television station owned by a relative of Slobodan Milosevic, killing 17 people. Mr Mansfield read out an intelligence report received at the National Criminal Intelligence Service and passed to officers investigating Ms Dando’s shooting.

It stated: “Jill Dando was the subject of an execution by a Yugoslavian hitman. Intelligence sources suggest that as a result of the bombing of a TV station run by the daughters of Milosevic, a contract was put out on the head of the BBC, John Birt.

“As a result of him receiving threatening letters his security was stepped up – after this the target was changed to Jill Dando.”

UK denounces Russia spy charge

Via CNN:

“It’s wholly unacceptable to make such allegations against any named individuals and by definition we are not going to comment on the truth of them,” said a UK Foreign Office spokeswoman, who declined to be named.

The spokeswoman declined to discuss the matter further but confirmed that [Christopher] Bowers heads UKTI, which works with British companies overseas and encourages international investment in Britain.

The Threat to the U.K. – 2

More from the Telegraph, quoting a source in MI5:

“MI5’s resources have been stretched to the limit for the past few years. There have been times when there was nothing left in the locker, when all of our assets were being used on one operation.

“At the same time, we have to contend with the very real threat being posed by the Russians. Russia is a country which is under suspicion of committing murder on British streets and it must be assumed that having done it once they will do it again.”

The source said MI5 was so stretched that some recent counter-terrorist operations against Muslim extremists had used up its entire surveillance resources, meaning other areas of security and intelligence work had inevitably suffered.

The Litvinenko Annexe

Ian Traynor, writing in the Guardian about the EU’s new strategic partnership project:

Under what a European diplomat described as “the Litvinenko annexe”, Moscow would come under pressure to extradite Andrei Lugovoi, the Russian MP and main suspect in the London murder by radiation poisoning.