Monday, December 06, 2004

Precisely what happened to Victor remains a mystery... Cast your memory back to the time of my escape across the Iron Curtain when the headlines screamed: The KGB’s Ghostly Umbrella Murder: The assassination on Waterloo Bridge, London, of Georgi Markov using a poison-tipped umbrella. Every spywatcher knows about Bulgarian defector Georgi Markov, who was assassinated in London in 1978 in a ploy that James Bond or Austin Powers would appreciate: a shadowy stalker jabbed Markov in the leg with an umbrella rigged to inject a pellet of ricin under his skin (the killer was never found, but the KGB and the Bulgarian secret service were prime suspects).
It has been estimated that 10 grams of anthrax could kill as many people as a metric ton of the nerve agent Sarin. We know about this too - Anthrax accident at Sverdlovsk, Sopviet Union. More than 66 civilians and an unknown number of military personnel are killed. Their faces said it all. I was in the Czech army in 1979 when the leak at Sverdlovsk happened and the photos that were circulated in the underground showed how the faces of the civilians who survived the accident aged dramatically in less than a week...
Viktor Yushchenko is the face of Ukraine's "orange revolution". And it is not a face he is proud of.
The man who was once described as the Bill Clinton of eastern Europe for his charisma and good looks is now horribly disfigured by an attempt to poison him during the political battle for control of his country.
As he sat in the office of his wood-panelled dacha in the suburbs of Kiev on Saturday, Mr Yushchenko vowed to expose all the details of the plot that has left his face scarred with pock marks and a complexion the colour of dark blue bruising.
The scars of a peaceful revolutionary

A piece on the front page of the Times' Week in Review section suggets that part of the problem we have with the rest of the world right now is that, unlike the Cold War, which provided a lens for viewing international relations and events that the whole world shared, the rest of the world just doesn't see the War on Terror as the overriding threat we do.
An Obsession the World Doesn't Share [Opinions of Men are almost as various as their Faces; an Observation general enough to become a common Proverb, So many Men so many Minds. Amanda Butler writes from the ex-Soviet republic ]
• · Tennessee fails test to provide public records
• · · Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne – James Russell Lowell Who's supporting the thugs in the Ukraine
• · · · There are things we can learn from the recent Presidential election, if we are willing to listen to people like Rabbi Kolko of Warren, Ohio, who urges us to hold onto a willingness to see the good in the other, the ability to temper the certainty of passionate conviction with the humility to concede doubt, [and ...] the heart of our democratic heritage Perhaps