Wednesday 6 December 2006

Boris Berezovsky and the Bizarro Effect

In a world turned upside down, the gangsters are the "good" guys

by Justin Raimondo

When I first put forward my thesis that we are suffering from what I call the Bizarro Effect – the inversion of moral laws as well as the rules of logic – it was just a hypothetical, a tentative assessment of the consequences of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I wasn't absolutely sure that the sheer force of those planes hitting the World Trade Center and the Pentagon had torn a hole in the space-time continuum and plunged us into a Bizarro World alternate universe, where up is down, right is wrong, and Satan sits on the throne of heaven. But the evidence kept piling up, as the Bizarro Effect spread outward from its starting points in lower Manhattan and Washington, D.C. It is now a worldwide phenomenon and spreading fast. Let's take a tour, then, of the world's hot spots, where the Effect is accelerating beyond anything yet seen…

First stop – London, site of the world's first nuclear terrorist attack, where one Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB agent turned whacked-out conspiracy theorist, was poisoned with radioactive polonium. From his deathbed, Litvinenko pointed the finger at Russian President Vladimir Putin and the FSB, the Russian intelligence service.

Never mind that this makes absolutely no sense – that Putin would have to be crazy to order or countenance such an attack, that Russia had nothing to gain from it and everything to lose. Kindly disregard the total lack of evidence implicating the Russian state, and please do your best to ignore the shady character of the victim and his billionaire Russian oligarch patron, whose criminal career was well-documented by the late Paul Klebnikov. (After his fascinating expose, The Godfather of the Kremlin, was published, Klebnikov was knocked off by unknown assailants.)

As Ayn Rand once said: Don't bother to examine a folly – ask yourself only what it accomplishes. Litvinenko's bizarre death has launched a tidal wave of Russophobic hysteria: editorialists the world over are virtually frothing at the mouth, demanding Putin's head, and the politicians aren't far behind. Fox News interviewed Senators Joe Biden and Lindsey Graham the other day, and here is what they had to say about the Litvinenko affair:

"Question, and I'll start with you, Senator Biden: Do you believe – I understand it's speculation, but do you believe that Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, is involved? And whether we can prove that or not, how should it affect our relations with Russia?

"BIDEN: Well, I don't know whether he's involved, but our relations with Russia have to get straightened out to begin with. Russia is moving more and more toward an oligarchy here. Putin is consolidating power. He's been doing it for the last six years. We have basically been giving him a bye. I think that Russia is sliding further away from genuine democracy and a free-market system and more toward a command economy and the control of a single man. So I'm not a big fan of Putin's, and I think we should have a direct confrontation with Putin politically about the need for him to change his course of action.

"GRAHAM: I think Joe is right on."

This trope of "I don't know if he did it, but…" is the common thread running through this particular bout of war propaganda, and it's everywhere: read this commentary by Anne Applebaum and see if you don't catch the same theme of factual ambiguity and moral certitude.

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