Well, waddaya know, I agree with Charles Krauthammer — there isn’t proof up to the standard of criminal liability and never will be, but the odds seem overwhelming that Vladimir Putin was responsible for killing Alexander Litvinenko. At best, it’s somewhat plausible that he didn’t issue any specific orders on this subject, but just set up some kind of political opponent killing apparatus that does this stuff without forwarding the details to the boss. That said, I’m not totally sure why Putin’s sins mean we’re now all supposed to become super-credulous about whatever a Putin opponent says or does.
Here’s Krauthammer: “Litvinenko claimed that the Russian government itself blew up apartment buildings in Moscow and elsewhere in 1999, killing hundreds of innocent civilians, in order to blame it on the Chechens and provoke the second Chechen war. Pretty damning stuff.”
Sure, I mean, damning if true but the fact that some shady ex-KGB dude and his corrupt sugar daddy say it’s true hardly does make it true. I’m not going to claim a great depth of knowledge on this subject (on the merits, the 9/22/99 Ryazan incident seems suspicion, but the “false flag” theory of the apartment bombings also has many of all the marks of a conspiracy theory in the worst sense), but it seems odd that this account is so widely endorsed by the very same people who are so at pains under normal circumstances to tell us all that we need to take Islamist terrorism more seriously. I mean, I doubt Krauthammer is especially impressed by 9/11 conspiracy theories holding that the whole thing was a Bush administration false flag operation.
In another context (“Violence and Islam,” December 6, 2002) Krauthammer was happy to believe in Chechen terrorism: “On the northern tier of the Muslim world, even more blood flows — in Pakistani-Kashmiri terrorism against Hindu India, Chechen terrorism in Russian-Orthodox Moscow and Palestinian terrorism against the Jews. (The Albanian Muslim campaign against Orthodox Macedonia is now on hold.) And then of course there was Sept. 11, 2001 — Islamic terrorism reaching far beyond its borders to strike at the heart of the satanic ‘Crusaders.'” Basically the approach is that whichever interpretation of the Russia-Chechnya conflict better suits the promotion of American hegemony will be adopted on any given day.