Alexander Goldfarb is promoting his new book about the former Russian security officer, Alexander Litvinenko, who'd been poisoned with Polonium 210(a WMD produced only in Russia). Goldfarb and the Litvinenko's widow contend that the the idea was that the Polonium would not be detected as British investigators are not trained to look for it and that the conclusion could be made that this had been an effort to frame Putin. That so many anti-Putin journalists have met untimely deaths led me to wonder if any embittered, rejected woman has thought of writing the following letter:
Dear President Putin:
Having read about anti-Kremlin writers who’ve supposedly been poisoned, shot and pushed out windows since you’ve been in office, I’m worried about my ex-boyfriend, not exactly a fan of yours, who is planning a trip to Russia with his new girlfriend. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s true that he dumped me, suddenly and without any particular concern for my feelings, but I’m not vindictive and wouldn’t want anything terrible to happen to him. He’s passionately anti-Russian and some might say too curious for his own good, not unlike that former KBG agent, Alexander Litvinenko, whom we all saw on TV as he was disintegrating so I’m worried that my ex might be targeted over there. That’s why I’m appealing to you to protect him.
If anyone wanted to, it would be far too easy to kill my ex. It wouldn’t even require a gun or poison. The man has a serious peanut allergy and would die from eating just one peanut or even something prepared in peanut oil. Are blinis ever fried in peanut oil? It’s not that I’d go with him even if he asked, but if I were, you can be sure I’d have a conversation with every waiter and know the Russian for, “He’s allergic to peanuts” or, “Он аллергическ к арахисам”. The new girlfriend, from what I hear, is no genius and probably won’t be as protective. My hope is if I provide you with their names and itinerary, you’ll have someone contact their hotels and instruct them to alert the restaurants so that precautions are taken.
It’s a little fuzzy about what’s going on over there. The most recent report was about two women who now live in California but had been born in women, returning from there seriously ill. I haven’t heard a follow-up and maybe that means they’d gotten sick from something they’d eaten, which could happen anywhere. The Litvinenko poisoning got a lot of press here and may account for the paranoia people are feeling about Russia being dangerous for certain people. To be fair, we just had a bunch of dogs and cats who died after ingesting rat poison that was in pet food so shit happens. So far, nobody’s tried to connect you with these deaths.
My boyfriend, oops ex, was reading about Anna Politkovskaya, following her reports on human rights abuses in Chechnya, carping about politics over there, as if he wasn’t capable of abusing another human. Talk about people in glass houses, but I’m digressing. Even if there was foul play involved in Politkovskaya’s death, Litvinenko had eaten sushi, and we all know how easy it is to pick up something radioactive from an uncooked bottom-feeder. How is it you got an easy name like Putin? Was it shortened?
It must add to the suspicions about you that nobody’s been tried for the murder of any of the journalists, but I’m the kind of person who gives the benefit of the doubt. Is it fourteen or fifteen writers who’ve died mysteriously? Is there a Russian version of “Unsolved Crimes”? Regardless of what people say, I don’t believe you’d be that vindictive. Even our administration, which has been accused of pretty much everything, has never been charged with killing reporters. Oh sure, they may have the IRS do an audit or conspire to reveal that someone’s mate is a covert FBI agent, but character assassination is as far as they’ll go. Nobody has suggested it, not even on the Sunday morning TV shows, but I have wondered if Maureen Dowd’s single status (is that an oxymoron over there too?) is a government plot in response to her having relentless chipped away at the president. How else did she manage to avoid getting involved with Carl Bernstein?
Over here criticism of Bush is a major business, perhaps the only field left not monopolized by Halliburton. If our administration were eliminating journalists critical of Bush, they’d have little time left to concentrate on their other work: trying to sell the war, spinning and rewarding cronies. Our writers are free to publish books with titles like “Worse Than Watergate, The Case For Impeachment and The Bush-Haters Handbook: A Guide to the Most Appalling Presidents of the Past 100 Years” Bush Must Go”), “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them”)”, is that thirteen? I suppose American journalists could have fewer concerns about reprisal because this president doesn’t read.