Dec 30 2006

Is Berezovsky A Media Hero?

One of the unexplained aspects of the Litvinenko case is the complete brain wash of the media. I know a lot of people still live in the era of the Soviet Union, but the obvious and open PR campaign that surrounded Litvinenko’s last days was clearly a sign that something other than a pending death was in the mix. No one calls in a PR firm and a mouthpiece simply because their friend is dying. Not when the entire UK is predisposed to buy the Putin-ordered assassination angle. But what is coming clear is Berezovsky had ‘infiltrated’ the good graces of many in the West, and had allies everywhere. His asylum in the UK is evidence of that. And the role his people had in Italy, the US and Russia also indicate he knew how to gain the trust of people. That’s how you pilfer a nation’s treasures and pretend it is the government (aka “the people”) who are the crooks.

I was reading a supposed response to all the latest news from Berezovsky, and the scoop is with a very surprising outlet – a blog-news media outlet:

FreeMediaOnline.org Free Media Online, Dublin, CA, December 29, 2006 — In an interview aired Friday by the Voice of America (VOA) Russian Service, exiled Russian businessman and President Putin’s critic Boris Berezovsky dismissed the latest accusations by Moscow in the Litvinenko poisoning case as moving beyond absurd into the realm of science fiction.

In the Voice of America interview, Mr. Berezovsky said that the US government would not have allowed Mr. Nevzlin into the country if Washington gave the slightest credence to Moscow’s accusations. “I know him personally, and these accusations have absolutely no basis in fact,” Mr. Berezovsky told VOA. While he was living in Russia, Mr. Berezovsky was an owner and supporter of liberal media.

I initially dismissed this as useless article because it doesn’t say anything more than this regarding Berezovsky’s interview. Nothing of any import at all. Berezovsky thinks the idea he is a suspect is ludicrous – hold the presses! But then I noticed that last sentence: “While he was living in Russia, Mr. Berezovsky was an owner and supporter of liberal media”. And it became clear I was missing something – the PR empire.

Someone like Berezovsky uses the media to his advantage. And he can do it by simply showing an interest and passing information now and then. I would wager the man is a media darling (as well as an intelligence darling). He could be another charlatan like Chalabi was with Iraq.

I wanted to know more about this Blogger News Media, and found this author for this piece actually works for a start up run by journalists with a decidedly leftward bent – politically. Here is the cast of characters from Free Media Online, and here is the extensive bio of the writer of this piece (and another one I will get to in a moment). The man is a Voice of America refugee, and well known haven of liberal editorials. And he has run around with the opposition of the USSR for years. He fits in nicely with the Berezovsky crowd. Surprisingly there is no article out yet on this ground breaking interview at VOA. I am going to inquire as to whether a transcript or recording is available. But this ‘article’ and its source tells me the media are probably allies of Berezovsky – not just sympathetic reporters.

And our intrepid author was able to get another scoop – with Litvinenko’s Chechen leader-in-exile friend Akhmed Zakayev:

FreeMediaOnline.org, Free Media Online, Dec. 29, 2006 — Vanessa Redgrave and Akhmed ZakayevExiled Chechen emissary Akhmed Zakayev revealed that although dissident Russian ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko had converted to Islam on his deathbed, he had been considering such a move for a long time. Mr. Zakayev said that Mr. Litvinenko grew up in the North Caucasus among Muslims and was always interested in their religion. According to Mr. Zakayev, Mr. Litvineko was ashamed of Russia’s actions in the Chechen war and this also influenced his conversion. Mr. Zakayev said that Mr. Litvinenko wanted to show that not all Russians behave the same way as those responsible for atrocities in Chechnya.

Sounds like this was more than a passing fancy – it sounds like Litvinenko had joined the cause. Do not forget that Litvinenko was hailed as a martyr by the Chechen immediately after his death (as if they were in close touch with the events of his last days).

“The president and the government of Ichkeria (the rebel name for Chechnya) plans to bestow the state’s highest decoration to compensate the actions of Alexander Litvinenko on behalf of the Chechen people,” said a rebel statement dated Saturday and published the following day on the chechenpress.info website.

And this came from the very top of the Chechen resistance and it was the highest recognition possible. As if the man had died in battle agains the enemy. Which is probably true. It is clear to me that Litvinenko and Berezovsky were welcomed inside the radical left. Berezovsky probably recruited these people because of their willingness to take down the evil West. And it is possible intelligence efforts are tied up in this as well, since VOA has that angle to it as well.

As for the investigation, Scotland Yard seems to be working off the list of people Russia thinks should be queried – and they started with another associate of Litvinenko and Berezovsky – Limarev:

BRITISH cops probing the poisoning of Russian ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko have quizzed a former KGB man living in France, it emerged yesterday.

Defector Evgeny Limarev was questioned for four hours after Scotland Yard officers secretly flew out to meet him in the Alps.

Limarev was drawn into the tangled international inquiry after sending an email to Italian professor Mario Scaramella, warning that the academic and Litvinenko were both targets on a Kremlin hit list.

I find it interesting Limarev is under serious French protection. Limarev had information that Litvinenko had a falling out with Berezovsky and he was in danger. That would seem to indicate Limarev feared powerful Oligarchs, like the ones who seemed to have chased him out of Russia seven years ago. It may be he is worried, considering who called to check up on him:

Limarev added that he was called by Alex Goldfarb, who has acted as a spokesman for Litvinenko’s family during the affair, last Sunday when his picture appeared in The Mail on Sunday over revelations about the mysterious robbery in Rome.

Limarev said that Mr Goldfarb told him: ‘Welcome to the club,’ – the ‘club’ being the small group of Russians involved in the drama.

I find it telling the first stop for investigators was Limarev, who has ties to Litvinenko, Berezovsky, Scaramella and Goldfarb. I wonder when Alex will be coming out again with his next media statement?

12 responses so far

12 Responses to “Is Berezovsky A Media Hero?”

  1. Ken says:

    No argument with the central point here-but if Chalabi was a charlatan that makes Bush
    too gullible to conduct foreign policy, considering
    Chalabi’s lies and those of his “intelligence” sources. Unless Bush already was disposed to utilize
    charlatans in an already decided policy.

  2. Carol_Herman says:

    Gee. Bad guys with money. Who knew?

    While putin “enriched” the story about the Israeli-Russian guy Nev-zoom-zoom-whatever.

    And, yes. Putin has been trying to get the Joooos in Israel to give up “his” man. In order to pick his pockets. And, get his billions back.

    Hardly likely.

    But then this treat of taking his family to America? Must have been a way of spreading the wealth to lawyers. Since the FBI did put their hands on him. And, then reacted as if they touched “fire.”

    While nobody’s any closer to discovering how in all heck an entire smuggling ring blew up. And, there’s enough alpha-particles to go around, to make for either McGuffins. Stuff DROPPED after the fact. Or?

    Greed and stupidity would be Occam’s choice.

    While something bad was stopped in their tracks.

    Could have been stopped, also, because the idiots in charge thought it would be an “easy thing to build.” And, there’s a hysterical imam in Londonstan, “afwaid” of radiation contamination.

    Sort’a like a win-win. So far, there’s no good guys in sight.

    Was this a bold plan? Or just idiots making mistakes?

    By the way having billions is no protection against “making mistakes.” Think of this every time you buy a bottle of ketchup.

  3. burtsev says:

    Dear AJ,

    Allow me to make this personal observation. You have incredibly perceptive and analytical mind. But it takes you so far off the mark because of your 1) ignorance of Russian affairs and 2) ingrained ideological assumptions. These are not your peersonal failings, it’s the way the majority of Western population is after all the brainwashing of the Cold War era. You correctly feel that there is something suspicious in the unanimity of corporate press in L.’s affair, the way it spins it in the anti-Putin and anti-Russian way. But consider that this is only a speck (ofthat dose of polonium) in the gigantic, mind-boggling organization of information industry nuclear reactor that has been churning off the polonium of disinformation, prejudice and hate poisoning the generations of Western populace. Unfortunately, even to consider this possibility is existentially prohibitive, because it means to accept the possibility of having been lived in the dark, thinking false thoughts and feeling false feelings. But this nuclear reactor keeps on poisobing the world and one day it will explode it. There is no way, of course, for me to make even a microspcopic dent in this type of false consciousness. That would be a grotesquely preposterous illusion. I just want to give you a sense of how far your reflections are from reality by a couple of examples.

    1.

    You write:

    “But then I noticed that last sentence: “While he was living in Russia, Mr. Berezovsky was an owner and supporter of liberal media”. And it became clear I was missing something – the PR empire.”

    This is a typical misunderstanding, intentionally created by the spin machine of Western media. We are talking about the meaning of the words they use describing Russian realities. When a modern educated American hears the word “liberal” he at once thinks of names like Ted Kennedy or Chomsky, or even Clinton, depending of how far to the “right” or “left” he stands. He thinks of welfare, pro-labor, government spending, spotted owls and so on and so forth. But this has nothing to do with what passes as “liberal” in Russia. “Liberal media” in Russia has been a term for the media, owned by oligarchs and Western corporations, like the Duch corporation (Derk Sauer) who owns The Moscow Times and thirteen other publications. The ideology of this “liberal” press is overwhelmingly neoliberal, and mostly the lunatic fringe type of neoliberal: anti-labor, anti-government (rabbidly anti-Putin ), pro-American, pro-Chechen separatists. In the 1990s, the “liberal” press in Russia glamorised Pinochet as the type of leader Russia needed. They repeated this spin recently on the occasion of Pinochet’s death. Why Pinochet rather than Putin? Because Pinochet was a pro-Amrican dictator, and Putin is hated by our “liberal” press for being “anti-American.”

    Indeed, it’s very simple to understand. Russian “Oligarchs” are a group of wheelers and dealers who plundered and divided among themselves the choiciest chunks of Soviet state property. They could defend this property against the rest of Russian society only by keeping the Russian state weak and corrupted (by them). In this they found in the West their natural ally adn West found in them its most loyal servants, if only because there was no other place for them to hide their loot from the Russian people.

    You write:

    “It is clear to me that Litvinenko and Berezovsky were welcomed inside the radical left. Berezovsky probably recruited these people because of their willingness to take down the evil West. And it is possible intelligence efforts are tied up in this as well, since VOA has that angle to it as well.”

    Who exactly do you have in mind by “the radical left”? Zakaev has been living with Vanessa Redgrave. Yes, she is a kind od “radical left.” But it’s the radical left that feels at home in London and Vanessa is adarling of local bon monde. Why? Becasue it a rabbidly anti-Soviet and now anti-Russian, pro-Chechen “radical left” of a Trotskyist variety, and British Trotskyist to boot ! They pamper Zakaev and the Chechens for the same reason MI5 and MI6 protects and uses them against Russia. Do you really belive that Berezovsky, Nevzlin and hundreds of others hiding themselves and their loot in the West are not controlled by Western secret services, by the Western security state who can pack them beck to Putin at any moment?

    You write:

    “I find it interesting Limarev is under serious French protection. Limarev had information that Litvinenko had a falling out with Berezovsky and he was in danger. That would seem to indicate Limarev feared powerful Oligarchs, like the ones who seemed to have chased him out of Russia seven years ago.”

    Евгении Limarev (б. 1965) was NOT chased from Russia by Oligarchs. And, btw, he never served in the “KGB” or any other branch of special services. In 1992 he worked as interpretor in two sugar factories in Belgorod Region. In both places there were discovered huge embezzlements. Criminal investigation was opened and in 1995 Limarev fled Russia to avoid prosecution. First, he lived in Switzerland, since 2000 in France, where he became a member of Berezovsky’s international gang. The investigative journalist Oleg Sultanov penetrated this ring thanks to Limarev’s attempt to recruit him (Sultanov wrote very critical articles in Novaya gazeta about the Russian army). In France Sultanov was met by Limarev and Goldfarb, who asked him to write a book abdout the “Putin’s crimes.” They rented him an apartment and gave generous monthly allowances. One of the first things Limarev advised Sultanov was to get in good graces with the French intelligence who was interested in whatever infromation Sultanov had not only about the Russian military, but also any personalinformation about men of importance in Russia. Limarev organized Sultanov’s meeting with French agents. Sultanov’s story is well known in Russia and was published in dozens publications but it was not published in the West for reasons you can yourself understand.

    Berezovsky is not a problem, he and other oligarchs are nobody unless they are backed by the West, which uses them as instruments agains Russia for achieving its geopolitical goals.

  4. copydude says:

    Remember that Berezovsky was instrumental in re-electing Yeltsin. He was privy to the media techniques involved – many new to Russia. The US and the CIA chipped in to help. To the tune of 14bn.

    The focus of PR and advertising at the time was character assassination of Yeltsin’s opponent – or what advertising professionals prefer to call ‘knocking copy’.

    Boris and Goldfarb – together with Tim Bell – are a formidable team of media manipulators. But because of the many holes and innacuracies in the story, have an idea that a lot of the PR was made up on the hoof.

    I think Boris saw Litvinenko’s death as a ‘PR’ event waiting to be exploited to the benefit of the exiles. Interesting about the photos and the deathbed statement. Was there a deathbed deal – and in return Boris or Zak would take care of Marina and the kid?

    Boris is sufficiently opportunist and media bright to have taken advantage of a situation once it happened. And any PR professional – which Bell certainly is – could have taken it from there. The cliches didn’t stop rolling from day one.

    Of course Berezovsky and Goldfarb have links with NATO and the CIA too – their funding and involvement in the Orange Revolution and the destabilisation of the Ukraine is well-known.

    For this reason, I think it unlikely Litvinenko’s death was needed or contrived as a PR event – Boris made the best of it once it happened.

  5. mrmeangenes says:

    To say Litvinenko’s death was manipulated is equivalent to saying it sometimes gets rather cool in Antarctica !

    My wife, sad to say, has been on a ventilator since 12/22/06, and I can very positively vouch for the fact she is incapable of doing much more than move her head slightly,or roll her eyes-very slowly-in anguish. (She is improving by millimeters,but it is a difficult ordeal to see.)

    To put out the story Litvinenko gave this brilliant,almost-poetic denunciation of Putin was the first big PR mistake “The Circle” made-but NOBODY in the mainstream media called them on it.

    It should also be noted there is a vocal group I think of as a modern JDL ,which bristles at the slightest suggestion someone who claims to be a Jew could do anything but good deeds in this world. (I imagine they think of the late Meyer Lansky as a hero of the 20th Century.)

  6. crosspatch says:

    PR campaigns aren’t likely to influence a police investigation. This does, however, play well into my suspicion that Litvinenko was going to have every single drop of utility squeezed out of his death by Boris. Might also be setting up for a public opinion campaign to counter whatever the police might come up with later.

  7. Lizarde1 says:

    new times story on this: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2524334,00.html
    PROSECUTORS in Moscow are investigating the possibility that the murder of Alexander Litvinenko in London last month is linked to two unsolved poisonings involving prominent Russian businessmen.

    Both men were embroiled in the multi-billion-pound battle over Yukos, the Russian oil company, before its assets were taken back into state control by the Kremlin.

    One is Roman Tsepov — a former bodyguard to President Vladimir Putin — who is reported to have intervened in the negotiations over Yukos.

    He was murdered two years ago after suffering severe radiation sickness brought on by a mystery substance he had ingested with food or drink. His symptoms were remarkably similar to those suffered by Litvinenko who died in a London hospital on November 23 from exposure to polonium-210, a radioactive substance.

    The second case is that of Alexei Golubovich, a former senior Yukos director, who survived alleged attempts to poison him and members of his family with mercury.

  8. Latvians says:

    Hi, sweeties!
    Why do not suppose, that those “welltraineds”, wasn’t smugling polonium, as such, but platinium tools for making mamas in old good times.
    Realy those ones wasn’t very rich and richies do not share even bucks for just a frendship.
    For ours it’s looking like, then they to show then now they are rich, was using them as golden spoons and god old polonium strarted to melt.

  9. MerryJ1 says:

    An observation, Burtsev: You’re in the right church, but wrong pew.

    “Liberal” and “conservative” as political terms are fluid, and their precise definition(s) depend on the prevailing ideology in the given geographical location to which they’re applied. The same is true for the other left-to-right labels: Radical (far left), liberal (left) moderate or mainstream (yeah, in the middle), conservative (right), and reactionary (far right).

    If, as reported, Putin is trying to reinstate the old Soviet-style order, that would make him a reactionary, a far-right-winger, not a liberal. But Ted Kennedy, who seems hell-bent on seeing the USA become a mirror-image of the old Soviet-style order, would thus be a radical, a far-left-winger. The two gentlemen may share the same pathology, but they share it in different hemispheres and therefore, wear different political labels.

    But all of that has nothing to do with the Chechen mix. To whatever degree they are allied with Islamists and their ultimate goals, they are not just Putin’s enemies, they are mortal enemies of civilization itself. While it may be a stretch to think of Putin as the “good guy,” in that match, I’ll be rooting for him.

  10. likbez says:

    Hi All,

    Happy New Year for everybody ! I really appreciate the level of discourse here and insights AJStrata brought to this vintage Le Carre story.

    I would like to extend my greeting to all brands of conspiracy theorists here despite my personal allergy to assassinologists: right to speech is right to speech after all :-)

    As for the media PR offence the key here might be an observation by mrmeangenes:

    “To say Litvinenko’s death was manipulated is equivalent to saying it sometimes gets rather cool in Antarctica !”.

    We now know several minor facts about sock puppets in this show but the real question is different and here the question “que bono?” is probably the only reliable guiding principle for blind men in a dark room looking for a black cat which isn’t there.

    And please remember that the results of autopsy are still withheld from the public. That might means that there is something that can severely damage PR campaign in the findings.

  11. crosspatch says:

    Indications are growing the UK is looking for a dirty bomb attack.

    Seems they have published a requirement for contamination resistant body bags.

    Found this link over at Charles’ place.

  12. Lizarde1 says:

    Regarding the body bags – I sure hope the Brits already HAVE this contamination resistant type body bag and are just ordering more otherwise it strikes me as ridiculous that after talking about expecting a dirty bomb plot for months they are just now getting around to putting out a contract for appropriate body bags.,,,the same goes for the hazmat stuff they just ordered.