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Friday, November 24, 2006

A Different Sense of His Soul, Maybe?

On June 18 of 2001, President George Bush was asked in a press conference if Russian President Vladmir Putin was a man America could trust. Bush infamously replied (#1):

I will answer the question. I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul; a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country.

Hmmmm. Straightforward huh? Trustworthy huh? Events would seem to indicate it might be a good idea for Mr. Bush to rethink that sense of Putin's soul. A pattern seems to be emerging.

Starting with the most recent event and working backwards…

On November 1, 2006, a former Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko, was poisoned in Britain. Initial stories indicated the poison might have been thallium but recent stories now cite polonium-210 as the likely poison. (#2) Litvinenko died November 23 but not before releasing a statement saying that Vladmir Putin initiated the poisoning. Polonium is a perfect choice for cloak and dagger operations because its radiation is due to alpha particles which are unlikely to set off radiation detectors at any airport or seaport entry point. Polonium is also relatively safe because it is only lethal when ingested.

On October 7, 2006, the most prominent opposition journalist in Russia, a woman named Anna Politkovskaya, was murdered in her Moscow apartment. Her death was being investigated by Litvinenko when he was poisoned in Britain. She claims to have been poisoned in 2004 which was the same year that Victor Yushchenko, a pro-Western anti-Russian presidential candidate in Ukraine, was severely disfigured and nearly killed after being poisoned by dioxin. The editor of her newspaper, Yuri Shchekochikhin, was poisoned in 2003. (#3)

Now, against that backdrop of integrity and openness, the Russian government announced November 24, 2006 that they will be selling new air defense missile systems to Iran. (#4) Purely for defensive purposes, of course. For a country that is likely sponsoring Shiite terrorist attacks that are deepening the civil war within Iraq and backing Hezbollah forces that are pulling Lebanon back to a civil war as well. For a country that has renewed its efforts to develop uranium enrichment capabilities for nuclear weapons.

George, you REALLY know how to pick people to trust.


#1) http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/06/20010618.html

#2) http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/radiation-killed-russian-spy-says-britain/2006/11/25/1164341430937.html

#3) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/20/AR2006112001135.html

#4) http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/11/24/russia.iran.reut/