So, a Russian spy turns double agent and sells out his country for personal gain.
Does it surprise anyone that an assassination attempt might be made on his life? Do you think the spy would be surprised?
In this case, I’m talking about one Sergei Skripal, who betrayed Russia after being “turned” by Britain’s M16, according to Russian accounts as reported by Reuters. He allegedly was paid $100,000 for the doublecross.
But he got caught, was tried by a Russian military court, convicted and jailed for 13 years in 2006, a fairly lenient sentence given the penalty other doublecrossing Russian spies have paid: death. It is a wonder Russia didn’t execute Skripal in 2006.
In 2010, he was pardoned and was part of a prisoner spy exchange between the U.S. and Russia: the U.S. had nabbed 10 Russian spies. Russia handed over four people, including Skripal, and got back 10.
So, Skripal has been living in Britain since then in relative obscurity until last week, when he and a daughter were found sitting in a stupor on a park bench, the apparent victims of a nerve agent, British authorities claim. The two remain in hospital in critical condition.
British authorities say the poison was from the “Novichok group of nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union’s military in the 1970s and ’80s,” and they have accused Moscow of launching an attack with this terrible stuff on British soil.
Moscow denies the allegations, but the British have determined Russia is guilty regardless, and have kicked out Russian diplomats and now Russia has responded in kind.
Personally, I’m not so sure Russia was behind the attack on Skripal. There are too many questions, such as why now? They could have executed Skripal in 2006. They’ve had plenty of time since then.
And call me naive, but I still believe in the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, even if it is accompanied by a healthy dose of suspicion. Perhaps British intelligence knows more than they are telling us, but I am not willing to take anyone’s word for it.
But surely there are other possibilities. Perhaps Skripal was attacked by an individual he compromised when he ratted out Russian agents in the West to M16 officials. Perhaps he was in possession of the nerve agent and somehow poisoned himself. Perhaps he was an innocent victim of some other sort of plot. Perhaps he was hit by ISIS. Perhaps someone is trying to frame Russia, for more dangerous reasons. Indeed, in these strange political times, I would bet on the latter. And so on. . .
Thing is, in the spy vs. spy game, the possibility of an instant and unpleasant death comes with the turf, especially if you become a double agent and compromise people. You have a lot of enemies, both individually and nationally. In Russia, Skripal is a traitor. He sold out his country for personal gain.
So, I am not surprised that someone tried to assassinate him. I’m just surprised that it took them this long if, in fact, someone tried to assassinate him at all.
It has been written: Live by the sword, die by the sword.
It’s probably one of the first things they teach you in Spying 101.