Malacandra.me

Paul Manafort are you reading the papers?

Paul Manafort are you reading the papers?

by digby

I'm sure this is nothing. Pay no attention. These sorts of incidents couldn't possibly be what they seem to be:

One of the two people critically ill in hospital in Salisbury after “suspected exposure to an unknown substance” is a Russian man who was exchanged in a high-profile “spy swap” in 2010, the Guardian understands.

Sergei Skripal, 66, was one of four Russians exchanged for 10 deep cover “sleeper” agents planted by Moscow in the US.

Wiltshire police said that a man in his 60s and a woman in her 30s were found unconscious on a bench in the Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury on Sunday afternoon.

Temporary Ast Ch Con Craig Holden said: “The pair, who we believe are known to each other, did not have any visible injuries and were taken to Salisbury district hospital. They are currently being treated for suspected exposure to an unknown substance. Both are currently in a critical condition in intensive care.

“Because we are still at the very early stages of the investigation, we are unable to ascertain whether or not a crime has taken place. A major incident has been declared today and a multi-agency response has been co-ordinated.

“Alongside our partner agencies, we are conducting some extensive enquiries to determine exactly what led to these two people falling unconscious and clarify whether or not any criminal activity has happened.”

Skripal’s sudden and unexplained illness will invite comparisons with the poisoning in 2006 of another Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko.

Litvinenko – a former officer with the FSB spy agency – fell ill after drinking a cup of tea laced with radioactive polonium. He met his killers on 1 November 2006, in a ground-floor bar of the Millennium hotel in Mayfair, central London.

The pair were Andrei Lugovoi – a former KGB officer turned businessman, who is now a deputy in Russia’s state Duma – and Dmitry Kovtun, a childhood friend of Lugovoi’s from a Soviet military family.

Litvinenko’s murder caused international scandal and led to years of estrangement between Moscow and London. Putin denied all involvement and refused to extradite either of the killers from Moscow.


A painstaking investigation by Scotland Yard revealed that the assassins took three attempts to kill Litvinenko, with two botched plots the previous month. They eventually succeeded by putting a tiny amount of polonium-210 in a teapot. Litvinenko drank only three or four sips and died in agony 23 days later.

Detectives were able to reconstruct the killers’ movements across London – after discovering radioactive traces in hotels, restaurants and a nightclub in Soho. the killers disposed of excess polonium by pouring it down the u-bend of their hotel sink.

Christopher Steele – then a senior MI6 officer and the subsequent author of the Trump dossier – led an inquiry by government into the killing. He swiftly concluded that the Kremlin was behind the assassination. Only Russia had the capacity to produce polonium, which can only be obtained from a nuclear reactor.

It's nice that half the US government is vilifying Steele as a lying foreign agent of Russia himself in order to protect The Miscreant.
I'm old enough to remember when they thought this kind of stuff was a bad thing. Now they're all on board.

I have no doubt that Manafort is worried about this. Who wouldn't be?