Polonium, Novichok, Propaganda
- This event has passed.
Polonium, Novichok, Propaganda
23rd October 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Since Vladimir Putin came to power in Russia in 2000, a defining trait of his regime has been its use of politically-motivated assassinations to silence its critics and opponents. Such assassinations have almost always been accompanied by disinformation campaigns in which Russia’s state-run media outlets have played a central role.
In early September, Alex Goldfarb, a close friend of Alexander Litvinenko, sued two Russian state-run TV channels — RT (formerly Russia Today) and Channel One — for claiming that he was behind Litvinenko’s poisoning in 2006. In a complaint filed in the US, Goldfarb accused both channels of libel and intentional infliction of emotional distress. His case is supported by Marina Litvinenko, Alexander’s widow.
By kind invitation of Damian Collins MP, and on the twelfth anniversary of Alexandar Litvinenko’s death, the Henry Jackson Society is pleased to invite you to join Alex Goldfarb and Marina Litvinenko for a discussion about how they are fighting back against Russia’s propaganda machine.
Alex Goldfarb – a graduate of Moscow University, left Russia thirty-eight years ago. He combined a successful career of a research scientist in New York with a life-long work for human rights and democracy in Russia. As a young man in Moscow he worked with Andrey Sakharov. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, he returned to Moscow to direct philanthropic programs of George Soros. In 2000 he helped then largely unknown whistle-blower from the security service FSB by the name of Alexander Litvinenko flee to London. Since then Alex has not been permitted back to Russia. When Litvinenko was poisoned in London with radioactive Polonium in November 2006, Alex read out to the press his deathbed statement accusing Putin of his murder. Later Alex authored, jointly with Marina Litvinenko, a book entitled ‘The Death of a Dissident. The Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the Return of the KGB’. For the past decade, Alex headed the Litvinenko Justice Foundation, which helped Marina to campaign for a Public Inquiry of her husband’s death, the report from which was released in 2016. In the aftermath of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal last March in Salisbury, Russian propaganda falsely accused Alex of murdering Litvinenko on behalf of American CIA. He is suing two Russian TV networks for defamation in US Federal Court in New York.
Marina Litvinenko – an activist, campaigner and the widow of Alexander Litvinenko. Marina graduated from the Industrial Petrochemical and Gas Institute as an Economist-Engineer. In 1990 she began to teach choreography and married Alexander Litvinenko in 1994. After Alexander fled Russia in 2000, Marina and their son Anatoly followed and received political asylum in the UK, living in London for the next six years. On November 2006, Alexander died from radioactive Polonium-210 poisoning. Marina also suffered symptoms of radioactive poisoning. She pursued justice for her husband through the founding of the Litvinenko Justice Foundation and continues to speak out for the rights of Russian nationals. Marina co-authored ‘Death of a Dissident’ with Alex Goldfarb published in 2007.
By kind invitation of Damian Collins MP, the Henry Jackson Society was pleased to host human rights and democracy activist Alex Goldfarb and campaigner Marina Litvinenko, widow of Alexander Litvinenko who was poisoned in London twelve years ago. Ms Litvinenko and Mr Goldfarb are founders of the Litvinenko Justice Foundation. The discussion focused on Russian interference in policies of other sovereign states.
Mr Goldfarb started the evening by recalling his meeting with Henry Jackson himself to determine how to respond to the USSR’s policies. He then explained how the murder of Mr Litvinenko received attention once more in the light of the assassination attempt against Sergei Skripal and his daughter earlier this year. British Prime Minister Theresa May referenced Mr Litvinenko’s case following the attempted murder in Salisbury. The Russian government and state media also picked up Mr Litvinenko’s death to push their own propagandistic narrative. Mr Goldfarb himself was accused of being a CIA agent who poisoned Russian spies, even though a British public inquiry identified two Russian agents as the culprits in Mr Litvinenko’s murder. Following a defamation lawsuit and discussions with members of the US Congress, Mr Goldfarb and Ms Litvinenko developed the action plan stoprussianlies.com to counter the spread of Russian propaganda. This action plan proposes three steps: legal actions against Russian propaganda outlets, sanctions, and disrupting their income through advertisements from international corporations. Ms Litvinenko pointed out the sensitivity of the issue of free speech and counteracting propaganda. Further work must be conducted carefully in order not to undermine previous achievements. She reminded the audience that like the title of the event suggests, propaganda is a poison directed against democracy. Trying to fight propaganda machines in Russian courts is futile, but legal action against them can be taken in democratic countries.
After the introductory speeches by Mr Goldfarb and Ms Litvinenko, the floor was opened for questions and discussions. Ms Litvinenko and Mr Goldfarb pointed to the differences in propaganda depending on its target audience. While RT aims to spread confusion and distrust against the mainstream media in the West, the Kremlin’s propaganda within Russia is much cruder due to a lack of alternative news sources. In the final part of the Q&A session, the delicate issue of free speech versus censorship was tackled. Mr Goldfarb explained that the dissemination of Russian propaganda must be stopped because it presents a danger to democracies and taking action against Kremlin-backed media is therefore a response to an immediate threat. The EU and the US have taskforces to counter falsehoods spread by Russian channels, but the struggle is expensive and uneven because unlike fact-checking propaganda appeals to emotions. But Ms Litvinenko reminded the audience again that democracies must think about how they can protect their citizens from Russian propaganda.
The Henry Jackson Society would like to thank Mr Goldfarb and Ms Litvinenko for offering their experiences and perspectives on this pressing issue.
Twenty years after NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia, the Western Balkans countries are beset by economic, political, and social uncertainty. The … Continued
The relationship between Russia and the West is once again deep in crisis. A major reason is that Western leaders … Continued
In late 2013, the People’s Republic of China began building and fortifying islands across a number of reefs in the … Continued
The Wealth Effect: How the Great Expectations of the Middle Class Have Changed the Politics of Banking Crises
The rising wealth of middle class households and voters has transformed the politics of banking crises. At this event, Jeffrey … Continued
In the state elections in December 2018, the big loser was the BJP, which had won 62 of 65 Lok … Continued
Belarus has received increased international attention over recent years, much of which has focused on Russia’s ambitions towards the country. … Continued
With returning IS fighters and uncertainty over Brexit, concerns surrounding human rights, civil liberties and national security have never been … Continued
Putin’s Hostages: Ukrainian Political Prisoners of the Kremlin is a documentary about the roughly 70 Ukrainians political prisoners incarcerated … Continued
In the eyes of many, the prospect of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict is diminishing. With peace talks … Continued
Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, Australia’s 29th Prime Minister, on ‘Preserving the Freedom of the Asia Pacific’
The Henry Jackson Society is delighted to host Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, Former Australian Prime Minister, for a special event chaired … Continued
Five years ago next month, Russia annexed Crimea in the first forcible annexation of the territory of a European country … Continued
Western liberalism is under attack, not only at home also but from newly-emboldened authoritarian states abroad. Across the West, states … Continued
Deep new rifts are tearing apart the fabric of Britain and other Western societies: thriving cities versus the provinces, the … Continued
Though mankind has traded tangible goods for millennia, recent technology has changed the fundamentals of trade, in both legitimate and … Continued
China’s Belt and Road strategy is acknowledged to be the most ambitious geopolitical initiative of the age. Covering almost seventy countries by land … Continued
Why Middle Eastern Jewish Refugees Are Key to Understanding and Resolving the Israel-Palestine Conflict
Jews lived continuously in the Middle East and North Africa for almost 3,000 years. But in just 50 years, indigenous communities … Continued
India and Turkey were the two exemplars of twentieth-century ‘secular states’ outside of the West. Professor Sumantra Bose believes that … Continued
The political events of recent years have sent shockwaves throughout the established order of Western liberal democracies. Election after election … Continued
Prof. Andrew Lambert’s new book, Seapower States examines how Britain and four other seapowers used their special identities to inform … Continued
Dave Rich’s updated edition of The Left’s Jewish Problem: Jeremy Corbyn, Israel and Antisemitism (2018) contends that antisemitism is a … Continued
Moneyland is the secret country of the wealthy and unscrupulous, the place where they put their assets, their children and … Continued
The Afghanistan War has now lasted for 17 years, and estimates suggest has cost the US government upwards of $750 … Continued
The Middle East remains one of the most tumultuous regions in the world today, with its many ethnic and religious … Continued
The past 18 months have seen an immense amount of economic, diplomatic, and even military activity relating to the Korean … Continued
As one of al-Qaeda's most respected bomb-makers, Aimen Dean rubbed shoulders with the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and swore … Continued
The most dangerous threat we face today is no longer military, but rather the increasingly pervasive exposure of our personal … Continued
SPEAKER: Professor Carl Minzner, author, End of an Era China’s reform era is ending. Core factors that characterised its political stability, … Continued
SPEAKERS: His Excellency Renato Carlos Sersale di Cerisano - The Argentine Ambassador to the United Kingdom; Dr. Shimon Samuels - … Continued
SPEAKERS: Dr Michael Green - Author of By More Than Providence and Senior Vice President for Asia and Japan Chair … Continued
In the midst of some great changes in the international system, countries have been left with the qaundry of how … Continued
SPEAKER: Eliot Higgins, Founder of Bellingcat The destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in July 2014 shocked the … Continued
SPEAKERS: Humphrey Hawksley, author of Asian Waters: The Struggle Over the Asia-Pacific and the Strategy of Chinese Expansion ; Bill Hayton, Associate Fellow … Continued
PROFESSOR NIGEL BIGGAR, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology, Oxford University, in conversation with Douglas Murray The nation-state is … Continued
SPEAKER: EHUD OLMERT, former Prime Minister of Israel It’s been 10 years since the last meaningful peace deal was put … Continued
Whatever one’s feelings toward the outcome of the 2016 US elections, there can be no doubting the historic impact and … Continued
As Britain considers its relationship with Europe, European security has never been more precarious, with Russian revanchism on the rise … Continued
As the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, geopolitics is returning to the European continent. Germany and France are squabbling … Continued