There No Longer Are Any Limits

After Boris Nemtsov’s Assassination"There no longer are any limits"

From: The New York Times
Nemtsov’s assassination took that warning to its logical conclusion. Now, “we live in a different political reality,” tweeted Leonid Volkov, a prominent opposition activist. “The fact that they killed him is a message to frighten everyone, the brave and the not brave,” Yashin said. “That this is what happens to people who go against the government of our country.” Anatoly Chubais — who, like Nemtsov, served in the Yeltsin government, and who remains close to Putin — visited the site of the shooting this morning. “If, just a few days ago, people in our city are carrying signs that say ‘Let’s finish off the fifth column,’ and today they kill Nemtsov,” he said in a statement, referring to the Kremlin-sponsored anti-Maidan protest in Moscow last weekend, “what will happen tomorrow?” Or, as Albats put it, “Hunting season is open.”

Putin promptly called Nemtsov’s mother to offer his condolences and threw what seemed like the entire Ministry of Internal Affairs on the case. Yet we can be sure that the investigation will lead precisely nowhere. At most, some sad sap, the supposed trigger-puller, will be hauled in front of a judge, the scapegoat for someone far more powerful. More likely, the case will founder for years amid promises that everyone is working hard, and no one will be brought to justice at all. This has been the pattern for other high-profile killings, like those of the journalist Anna Politkovskaya and the whistle-blower Sergei Magnitsky.
My view:

In considering a crime a critical step in determining if someone has committed it, is evidence and motivation.

So we must remember who benefits from a particular act and who does not.

One of the more troubling trends over the past few years in the American media, is something I call trial by journalism.  We see examples of this in the invasion of Libya in 2011, the Arab spring and overthrow of the Egyptian government, the attempted overthrow of the Syrian regime that is still ongoing, the overthrow of the Ukrainian government in 2014, the shooting down of the Malaysian airliner, the continuing war in East Ukraine and now the assassination of Mr. Nemtsov.

There is a common thread in these events.  As we recall who benefits and who does not let us consider two of them.

1.  The shooting down of the Malaysian airliner.
Did Mr. Putin benefit from this or did Mr. Obama?

2. The assassination of Mr. Nemtsov.
Who benefits from this?

In my view Mr. Putin benefits from neither event. 

The first event was immediately blamed on the rebels in East Ukraine.  But there was a no-fly zone in effect for a 250 km radius over the fighting area so how did the airliner find itself in the restricted zone if Ukrainian air-traffic control did not permit it to pass in the first place?  The event did make convenient propaganda for Mr. Obama.

This second event is more nebulous.  It is difficult to say whether Mr. Putin benefits from this.  It does appear the Mr. Nemtsov's influence was waning by some accounts.  Certainly given Putin's KGB ties it is well within his capabilities.  But capabilities and actions are quite different. This assassination occurs at a time when the Western coalition to oppose sanctions against Russia is waning.  Perhaps this suggests a black ops operation with plausible deniability.  On the surface it seems the benefit to Putin is small, but the propaganda benefit to the coalition is large.

Whatever the truth may be, it certainly seems that there indeed are no longer any limits on the lies and spin that passed off as journalism in much of the Western media.

“One drop of truth can outweigh an ocean of lies” 
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn