Up to 500 people may have been exposed to poison that killed Russian spy and daughter


Some real 007 stuff.


The guy who developed it lives in New Jersey, apparently.

According to my Russian friends*, what’s going on is that various idiots and gangsters are trying to curry favor with Putin by doing half-assed assassination attempts. This behavior is very familiar to anyone who’s studied medieval history - “who will rid me of this troublesome priest?” and the Wat Tyler affair come to mind.

* co-workers born and raised in the old CCCP, currently US citizens.


Yes, someone who develops chemical weapons should be right at home in New Jersey.


I mean… It is like the central hub of advanced chemical manufacturing in the U.S., isn’t it?


A world where organized crime has access to deadly nerve agents is more plausible?


Paul Manafort won’t be dining at any Italian restaurants.


Sure, that’s certainly the world I live in.

And it’s not just chemical agents, that’s small stuff. Rumor would have it that the Saudis bought their nukes from the Chechen mafia, although I think the official story is that they bought them from Pakistan.

Honestly, it would be better for everyone if the Russian government were really behind this, rather than a bunch of incompetent criminals trying to curry favor with Putin, or simply an anti-Russian propaganda operation.


It was some guy in his home in New Jersey? Is he 400 pounds by any chance?


Reminds me of:


both President Bush and Vice President Cheney in public statements speculated about the possibility of a link between the anthrax attacks and Al Qaeda.[74] The Guardian reported in early October that American scientists had implicated Iraq as the source of the anthrax,[75] and the next day the Wall St. Journal editorialized that Al Qaeda perpetrated the mailings, with Iraq the source of the anthrax.[76] A few days later, John McCain suggested on the Late Show with David Letterman that the anthrax may have come from Iraq,[77] and the next week ABC News did a series of reports stating that three or four (depending on the report) sources had identified bentonite as an ingredient in the anthrax preparations, implicating Iraq.[60][61][78]
Statements by the White House[62] and public officials[63] quickly proved that there was no bentonite in the attack anthrax. “No tests ever found or even suggested the presence of bentonite. The claim was just concocted from the start. It just never happened.”[79] Nonetheless, a few conservative journalists repeated ABC’s bentonite report for several years,[80][81][82] even after the invasion of Iraq, as evidence that Saddam not only possessed “weapons of mass destruction”, but had used them in attacks on the United States.

Deja vu.


It’s only a matter of time before they start targeting critics outside Russia, I reckon. They’ve successfully assassinated so many people in the UK (and probably a few in the US, too) without pushback, after all, and it feels like the next step in their information warfare practices.

Who do you think the Russian government is?




And according to my Russian* friends. What’s going on is Putin has a long term habit of assassinating critics and persons embarrassing to him. Increasingly using powerful compounds accessed through the military.

*American citizens who were raised there, and their family members who still live there. But Ethnic Georgians and Jews who mostly live in Moscow and/or fled to New Jersey when the Soviet Union collapsed.

And according to a lot of the pro Putin Poles (and Bulgarians) I know what’s really happening is that Putin is standing between Western Civilization and destruction by justifiably taking out Insert Ethnic Group agents.

Some people we know who happen to be Russian or from that area of the world. Aren’t really an adequate stand in for informed analysis of the situation.

What this “the mob did it” narrative misses. Is that Putin is deeply. Deeply. Tied to organized crime in that area of the world. There are multiple rumors of nukes (or info on how to build them), other weapons of mass destruction, and military equipment moving from Russia and former soviet states through various “Mafias”. But Putin is deeply connected to many of these same groups. And in a lot of cases these stories are of the Russian Government, oligarchs, and Putins Cronies moving these things through those criminal groups to new places on behalf of Putin or the Russian Government and military. These same groups are usually pretty well embedded in the pretty well documented money laundering and kleptocracy system swirling around Putin.

The standard interpretation in intelligence communities and what have seems to be that Putin uses criminal organization to move things around. Money. Weapons. People. And to make people disappear. With plausible deniability. Public money gets payed to various mysterious corporations. Tied to Putin or his cronies. Or items that “disappeared” because Soviet Union! Those companies or oligarchs get them to the mobsters. Who get them outside of Russia in sketchy fashion. Where in the money then goes through their laundering system. Tied very much to real estate investment in the west. Certain banks like those in Cyprus. Or money and weapons suddenly crop up in the foreign, often roguey states they’re trying to prop up. And everyone is all like “hey where’d those dudes get like 50 outdated Russian tanks?”.

Its a well enough established pattern that many of the people and banks involved are under international and US sanctions. And if you look at a lot of those Russian Oligarchs they either had their start associated with organized crime or the KGB/FSB. And a lot of the post Soviet mobsters like wise have roots in the KGB.

So even if rumors of such things are true the more likely explanation is that Russia funneled the Saudis their nukes through the Chechen Mafia. And the Chechen Mafia may not have even been aware that’s what was happening, because they went through like 3 steps before the Chechens even had them.


Not to diminish the seriousness of the situation, but the victims are not dead yet, contrary to the headline.



In any major criminal enquiry one of the basic questions the investigation asks is: who had the means, the motive and the opportunity? Framed in that light, the Russians come a distant fourth behind the other prime suspects; the U.S. and U.K. intelligence agencies themselves, and those elements of the deep state that sought to prevent Trump winning, and subsequently to undermine his presidency. The primary motive being ascribed to the Russians is revenge for Skripal’s treachery more than a decade ago.

“cui bono” is a hell of a drug.


Castro poisoning attempts, Air America, Iran Contra, Islamic Mujaheddin, etc.



Maybe it’s just in movies, but aren’t the assassins sometimes unaware of nature the substance they’ve been given to poison the target with? That’s what happened in the case of Kim Jong-nam if I recall… Super monstrous way to operate, but there it is.



That those things happened. And that other nations have also engaged in such things does not have any bearing at all on the level or format of corruption in Russia.

Its not as if because Iran Contra happened suddenly Russia isn’t an oligarchy largely concerned with funneling public money into the pockets of Vladimir Putin and his associates.

It isn’t as if the US propping up dictators. Suddenly means the hundreds if not thousands of Journalists and activists who have been murdered or just straight up disappeared in Russia over the last decade some how deserved it. To say nothing of the assassinations that have happened abroad.

Just because other governments do bad things doesn’t mean the things Russia does aren’t still bad.

What-aboutism isn’t a valid response to a statement pointing out something fucked up.

Guess what? More than one fucked up wrong thing can happen at a time.

Its not entirely clear that the two women who carried out the assassination even knew that’s what they were doing. Neither were North Korean. The North Koreans who appear to have been controlling the situation were posing as people from other Asian Nations. The two women claim they thought they were working for a Chinese prank show. While the Malaysian police , who from what I recall aren’t exactly super awesome, claim otherwise. That they were specifically trained for the attack, and knew what they were using.

The two women are on trial now.




It was more of a comment on Americans’ moral indignation.