Don’t Get Stuck in the Details, It’s Not That Complicated

The recent Litvinenko report has set me thinking. I’ve been writing about the affair (here from 2007) and reading about it since it happened. The story metastasises on and on. Scaramella comes and goes. First it was thallium, then it was polonium. The Chechen connection. A man who doesn’t speak much English suddenly writes a fluent death note. Berezovskiy loses all his money, begs Putin to let him back into Russia and then kills himself. Then there are the endless details of who met whom and where and when. New stuff periodically appears (like this video alleging Litvinenko was contaminating places before he was “poisoned”). Mountains of details to examine and argue over. The file grows bigger and bigger but no one is ever persuaded; it gets more and more confusing and the points of argument get smaller and smaller.

But there’s a much simpler approach that cuts out this interminable minutiae. William of Ockham would like it. And it’s simply this: if Putin had decided to have Litvinenko killed, there is absolutely no way he would have chosen this method. Natasha has nailed it. Therefore, whatever happened to Litvinenko, it has nothing to do with Putin. QED.

Weapons inspectors arrive in Syria to check whether Assad is using chemical weapons. As their plane is landing, about an hour’s drive away, Assad launches a CW attack on civilians. No way. No one is that stupid. Therefore, whoever did it wasn’t Assad. Don’t bother arguing with Bellingcat’s chin pulling, any rational person can figure that out. QED.

US Secretary of State John Kerry assures us that the US has all the data, who fired it, where it came from and everything else relating to MH17. But we’ve never seen a smidgeon of it or any explanation why we haven’t. Anybody can figure out that, if the evidence were there, we would have seen it. Therefore the rebels didn’t do it. No need to argue over a billboard on some grainy film. QED.

Who did do these things? Well, now we have to dive into the minutiae and argue about this and that. But an intelligent twelve-year old can figure out 1) not Putin 2) not Assad 3) not the rebels. QED.

But there are still some questions. Who is so contemptuous of us that he (or she) expects us to believe that Putin would chose such a roundabout method of assassination and one that immediately made people point at him? Who thinks we’re stupid enough believe that Assad would practically gas the inspectors? Who thinks we can’t figure out that the gigantic US intelligence organisation must have seen something and, if they haven’t showed it to us, what it must have been?

Questions for a later time: I have a theory but I’m still thinking.