The latest twist in the Navalny saga claims that the blogger-activist – whom Russia accuses of being a CIA asset – was somehow poisoned with highly toxic Novichok laced in his underpants. The story does not pass the whiff test, so to speak. In fact, it reeks like, well, a pair of old underpants.
- Finian Cunningham
What’s more the opposition figure, who is said to be “recovering” at a secret location in Germany, claims this week that he managed to trick a member of the Russian Federal Security Services (FSB) into admitting during a 45-minute phone call that the agency had carried out the purported assassination.
This ostensible sloppiness of Russian intelligence agencies contradicts separate US media claims that the Kremlin just launched a spellbinding cyber-assault on the heart of American government departments and corporations.
In any case, Navalny reportedly succeeded in his “sting” operation against the FSB by using sophisticated electronic mimicking of the agency’s phone line and posing as a senior member of the Russian national security council who was demanding a briefing on the alleged assassination and how it failed. We are led to believe the FSB officer, who is named, volunteered the information that Novichok was applied to Navalny’s underpants while he was staying at a hotel in the hours before his flight to Tomsk on August 20.
The Russian authorities have dismissed Navalny’s supposed phone “scoop” as a fake conversation. Indeed, the Russian government says that the kind of electronic equipment claimed to have been used by Navalny suggests the input of state intelligence for him to even conceive of such a ploy.
Besides, it’s hard to take this latest twist in the yarn seriously. Previously, it was claimed that the opposition figure was poisoned after he touched a bottle of mineral water while in his hotel room. The suspected bottle was somehow stealthily transported out of Russia to Germany by one of Navalny’s aides where it reportedly tested positive for traces of Novichok by a German military laboratory.
Still another purported method of poisoning suggested by Navalny himself was that he drank a contaminated Negroni cocktail in the hotel the night before his flight which he recalled tasted awful. Prior to that, it was also claimed that he was poisoned with a cup of tea served to him while awaiting departure from the airport in Tomsk. …