Paul Joyal: Still a Mystery

Paul Joyal (left) with Oleg Kalugin

Congressional Quarterly reports:

Almost a year after Kremlin critic Paul Joyal was gunned down in his suburban Maryland driveway, the case remains a mystery. To some, including the Prince George’s County police, it was a random street crime, “an attempt at a citizen robbery,” a spokesman said Friday. The alleged assailants, two black men whom Joyal only glimpsed before he was felled by a single handgun shot in his gut, remain at large. “There’s no change in the status of the case,” said police spokesman Henry Tippett. “We still think it was a citizen robbery.”

Others don’t buy that, starting with a retired P.G. County police detective, Karl Milligan, who spent decades in homicide before retiring as chief of the intelligence unit in 2004. Milligan volunteered to help Joyal, 53, a one-time chief of security for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and a former business partner of retired Soviet KGB Gen. Oleg Kalugin, after reading about Joyal’s outspoken criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Only four days before he was attacked, Joyal was featured on an NBC Dateline show accusing the Kremlin of going after its critics abroad. The “citizen robbery” idea never made sense to him, Milligan said, starting with its location, in the quiet Holly Hill neighborhood of Adelphi, a ’50’s-era subdivision with no drive-through traffic, abutting George Washington Memorial Cemetery.

“First of all, it’s way up in a corner of P.G. County, so secluded you’d hardly know anybody lived there,” said Milligan, 51, in an interview last week. “Crime was very low there and still is.” Carjackings, muggings and home invasions are virtually unknown there, the police confirmed. “There were no [violent] incidents prior” to the March 1, 2007, attack, Tippett said, and none since. “It’s still generally a quiet area.”

Another thing, Milligan says: The way the attack went down.

‘That’s Not How Robbers Act’

Joyal was returning home after meeting Kalugin for a drink near the Spy Museum in downtown Washington. The longtime security expert pulled into his driveway and stepped out of his car. Two men jumped from the bushes, one grabbing him from behind. They were both black, Joyal told me over lunch a few weeks ago, but he got only a fleeting look at the one facing him, who had “sandy hair that looked dyed.”

“He says, ‘Shoot him!’” Joyal said, in “some kind of accent, maybe Caribbean.” A handgun went off. A bullet pierced his intestines. He crumpled to the ground, bleeding heavily. The assailants ran off into the night, leaving behind Joyal’s wallet, his computer, his briefcase and, of course, his car. “That is not how a crime is committed up there,” says Milligan.

Joyal’s wife, Elizabeth, emerged from the house, screamed and called an ambulance. Her husband spent the next 20 days in an induced coma and underwent five operations to put his intestines back together. When he woke up, he at first thought it was an ordinary street crime himself. But others immediately suspected the involvement of Russian assassins, who had been on a rampage against critics of the Putin regime.

Joyal, who had been a consultant to former Soviet Georgia as well as companies who wanted to do business in Russia, saw the hand of the Putin regime in the assassination of dissident former Russian intelligence agent Alexander Litvinenko, who died from a lethal dose of polonium-210, a rare radioactive isotope, in London in November 2006. “A message has been communicated to anyone who wants to speak out against the Kremlin,” Joyal said on NBC Dateline. “If you do, no matter who you are, where you are, we will find you, and we will silence you — in the most horrible way possible.”

Joyal was “silenced,” too, many Russian experts thought. “He had just accused the Russian government on NBC of poisoning former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London the previous November,” the prolific journalist Alex Shoumatoff, whose aristocratic parents emigrated from Moscow when the czar was overthrown in 1917, noted.

“Litvinenko had blown the whistle on murders and corruption in the Putin regime. . . . The month before that Anna Politkovskaya, who had written about the torture of Chechens by the Russian army in the biweekly Novaya Gazeta, was gunned down in her Moscow apartment elevator. And two years before that Paul Klebnikov, the Moscow editor of Forbes Russia, was shot dead in the street. Klebnikov had just begun to investigate the 1995 murder of a Russian TV journalist, Vladislav Listyev.”

Shoumatoff also noted the suspicious death of “Ivan Safronov, who fell to his death from his 5th-story window on March 2,” the day after Joyal was attacked. “A military correspondent for the daily Kommersant, Safronov was working on a story about the Kremlin’s furtive sale of anti-aircraft missiles to Iran and jet fighters to Syria.”

Kalugin, who had once commanded all Soviet espionage operations in the U.S. as chief of the KGB’s First Directorate, said that without an arrest, no one could be certain of who was responsible for the attack on Joyal. But he called it “strange.”

“Why were they waiting for him? That’s not how robbers act,” Kalugin said in a telephone interview. “There are dozens of houses in the neighborhood. Why would they pick his? And why would they wait for him in the bushes at the house?” The onetime master spy, a frequent lecturer on Russian activities in the U.S., said he has received “anonymous threats” in letters and telephone calls. But “that was some time ago.” State controlled Russian media, he said, often wonders in print why he hasn’t been killed, in a tone that seems to be “goading the Russian security services” into getting rid of him.

The FBI briefly got involved in the Joyal case, and took a cartridge found at the scene to the crime lab at Quantico, where it sits today. An investigative source who conferred with them said they “didn’t seem to have much interest in it.” The FBI did not respond to a request for comment.

The Fate of Beckett

Those who follow events in Russia closely are divided on whether the Kremlin would dare to reach out and touch someone in the United States. For starters, it would demand a response from the Bush administration, which has soft-peddled its criticism of Putin, a former KGB agent himself, in exchange for cooperation against Islamic terrorists and other issues, many critics say.

“If the Russians were behind the attack on Paul Joyal, then they crossed a line that they had not done earlier even in Soviet times — attacking a native-born American citizen on American territory,” says Paul Goble, a longtime U.S. government specialist on Soviet and post-Soviet states who now teaches in Azerbaijan. “One hopes that they would not dare do so, but that there are widespread suspicions on this point reflects two things: the Russian government’s lack of total control over all those in its security structures and the deterioration of conditions in Russia itself more generally.”

But Glen Howard, president of the Jamestown Foundation, established during the Cold War to help promote the views of Soviet defectors in the West, said it’s “absolutely” possible that the Russians may have sanctioned the attack on Joyal. “It’s part of a whole chain of events,” Howard said. Since Putin has been in power, Russian diplomats in Washington have increasingly been exhibiting “thuggish” behavior in response to the foundation’s activity and criticism of Russian policies in Chechnya and rest of the North Cauasus. “They show up in the lobby and demand to see someone,” in contrast to the warm era under Boris Yeltsin, Russia’s first democratically elected president, when “they would have the civility to call you up an make an appointment.”

Not long ago, Howard said, one Russan diplomat simply showed up at his office and “refused to leave” until security guards were called. Howard also said that Jamestown, and he personally, have been singled out for criticism by the state-owned Russian press. In 2005 the foreign ministry issued a note of protest to the State Department about the activities of The Jamestown Foundation, a research and analysis organization that focuses on Russia and Eurasia. “It creates an air of intimidation,” he said. “It makes me think twice about doing something, not only in Russia, but even Washington. D.C.”

Whether the Kremlin had a hand in Joyal’s attack, said Goble, it’s unlikely to be discovered. Many cut-outs would have been employed to separate Moscow and the thugs who shot him. “Some have speculated that it could be the case that no one in Moscow gave an order to go after Paul Joyal but that someone senior there made a ‘who will rid me of this meddlesome priest’ type of comment, and a more junior person decided to ‘show initiative’ by acting on that hint alone,” Goble said in an e-mail from Azerbaijan. “In some ways, that possibility is even more disturbing than a direct order, because it means that the Russian authorities may not be in a position to ensure that this does not happen again.”

The elimination of critics, said Goble, is part of “the radical deterioration of conditions in the Russian Federation under Putin.”

“Because of that deterioration,” he added, “some who want to go to Russia regularly and maintain close ties with Russian officials have become more cautious, just as some of their predecessors were in Soviet times.”

But other security experts dismiss the likelihood of the Kremlin contracting out an assassination in the United States. The downside overwhelms any small advantage it could gain from silencing a critic here, not to mention the risk of getting caught. Putin has been on a public relations offensive recently, most visibly in buying lavish color inserts in The Washington Post — 10 last year, according to the newspaper, which declined to put a dollar amount on no doubt expensive purchases — touting everything from tourism to Putin’s possible successor to the virtues of his wife. The regime and its closely allied oligarchs also have scores of powerful public relations firms on retainer, say Joyal and others. “I think it’s extremely unlikely that the Russians would attempt to take out a Kremlin critic in the U.S.,” says Eric Rosenbach, a one-time military intelligence officer who was national security adviser to Sen. Chuck Hagel , R-Neb., until recently taking an appointment at Harvard.

A retired CIA operative with many years experience working directly against the Soviet KGB scoffed at the idea, even going so far as to suggest that Joyal, who years ago had a reputation of dramatizing the communist menace in America, of hyping the attack. Joyal, a member of the Capitol Police years ago, conceded that he’d “made some mistakes in my youth.” But he added — accurately — that “the idea that it was them [the Russians] came from other places.”

“I was out of it for 20 days, with a breathing tube up my nose, in the hospital,” he said. “When I gave my report to the police, I thought it was a local crime. Look at the facts,” he added. “There’s been no crime in that neighborhood.” But if there were Russian involvement, he added, there’s no incentive for Washington to publicize it. “Think of the ramifications,” he said, “for the U.S. government.”

LR: Has he written or spoken a single critical word about the Kremlin since the incident?

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3 responses to “Paul Joyal: Still a Mystery

  1. really enjoy reading this blog! you guys must be either paid by the CIA or just plain sick in the head! keep up the good work, it’s good for laugh. cheers

  2. Those who follow events in Russia closely are divided on whether the Kremlin would dare to reach out and touch someone in the United States.

    Meaningless statement meant to manipulate, sets the reader to think that the person writing has a finger on everyone who is concerned and can speak for them.

    Purely propaganda, as the question of whether the Kremlin would or wouldn’t dare, was answered years ago, and is answered over and over up to this date. The answer is yes if they think it was worth it. there is a long and illustrious history of ‘actions’ going back to the first days and there has never been a time when they ceased.

    Heavy-handed Putin
    http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/03/heavyhanded_putin.html

    “The deserved punishment reached the traitor. I am sure his terrible death will be a warning to all the traitors that in Russia the treason is not to be forgiven. I would recommend to citizen Berezovsky to avoid any food at the commemoration for his accomplice Litvinenko. – Sergei Abeltsev “

    Sergei Yushenkov (Сергей Юшенков) (1950-2003) was a liberal Russian politician well known for his uncompromising struggle for democracy, rapid free market economic reforms, and higher human rights standards in Russia. He was assassinated on April 17, 2003, just hours after registering his political party to participate in the December 2003 parliamentary elections.

    “If the Russians were behind the attack on Paul Joyal, then they crossed a line that they had not done earlier even in Soviet times — attacking a native-born American citizen on American territory,”

    Ah, what drugs is he on, and how come everyone isn’t as happy? Perhaps they think that SMERSH was made up for james bond, and not the other way around?

    Smert Shpionam

    The title SMERSH ceased to be used by the KGB after 1948. SMERSH was originally created into five separate sections. SMERSH (now called Department V of the First Chief Directorate, which is hidden inside the internal security department of the Army, also called CUKR) is responsible for ruthlessly murdering tens of thousands of people in the last eight decades.

    the agency was not made public until the defection of KGB Captain Nicolia Khokhlov in West Germany in 1954. Khokhlov himself was a SMERSH agent sent to murder Igor Georgi Okolovich on orders from Premier Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev.

    Khokhlov, an experienced killer, had received special training for his mission; he was to murder Okolovich with a miniature poison pellet gun. The assassin suddenly changed his mind and then defected to the CIA, exposing SMERSH operations as well as identifying two other SMERSH killers in Western Europe, who were promptly arrested.
    After Khokhlov’s defection, two other SMERSH agents, Peter Deriabin and Bogdan Stashinsky, also defected. Both one-time assassins detailed the workings of SMERSH. All of these assassins were equipped with sophisticated murder weapons. Stashinsky was equipped with a small tube that sprayed prussic acid.

    SMERSH was responsible for hundreds of assassinations all over the world.

    Often in foreign countries, SMERSH will use professional criminals and killers to perform its abductions and assassinations, paying them enormous sums of money for their services. By employing professional criminals, kidnappings and liquidations appear to be criminal acts and not political coups, thus clouding the motives and redirecting suspicion from the Soviets to lawbreakers. This was the case of Carlo Tresca, where an American gangster, Carmine Galante, was handsomely paid to kill a SMERSH victim.

    In this way, even assasinations of people like labor union activist hoffa, were considered mob related and not soviet related. Though given everything about them, they have been soviet related since the earlist part of last century.

    To go through the history, is to go through the history of some of the most incredible assasinations of all time. the US has nothing on the soviets. From trotsky himself, to stalin himself. The list goes on and on.

    One only needs to read of Walter G. Krivitsky, a GRU general that defected who was killed in a washington holtel room. last I heard, washington was part of the united states.

    One of the most active early-day SMERSH agents in the West was American-born George Mink. A native of Philadelphia, where he drove a taxi in the early 1920′s, Mink joined the Communist Party in 1926, becoming a trade-union organizer for the Marine Workers Union, which reportedly had a direct link to Joseph Stalin. By 1927, Mink was sending reports directly to Moscow. He was summoned to Moscow in 1928, where he underwent is SMERSH training and in the following year he undertook his first assassination assignment throughout Europe.
    In 1931, he was in Berlin, where he met a journalist who was to later describe him as “a short, strongly-built, dapper young man, with a small cruel mouth, greenish-brown eyes and irregular teeth.” Mink was then stalking Hans Wissenger, a spy who had been controlling three GPU couriers working on the Hamburg-America line and who had exposed them to German authorities. Wissenger had been ordered back to Moscow and had refused. Mink was then assigned to kill him.

    On May 22, 1932, Mink–along with Hugo Marx, another SMERSH assassin–located Wissenger and shot him to death in his apartment in the Muehlenstrasse. The murder is listed in Berlin’s police files to this day as unsolved. Mink got away completely and reportedly killed at least another half dozen people by 1935 when his luck ran out. He and another American KGB assassin, Nicholas Sherman, were arrested in Copenhagen and charged with espionage. They were both sent to prison for eighteen months, reportedly for stalking a Russian businessman who had fled the Soviet Union.

    Released in 1936, Mink returned to Moscow, where he was reportedly seen in the company of Juliet Stuart Poyntz, one of the leading American Communists who vanished the following year. According to Carlo Tresca, a rabid anti-Communist and anti-fascist editor in New York, Poyntz was ordered killed after she openly denounced Stalin and communism. George Mink, Tresca told friends, was the man who was her contact and KGB control and he arranged for a hurried meeting with her. At that time, Mink lured her into a car in Central Park. He drove north and stopped alongside a lonely road where he strangled Poyntz to death, burying her body in a woodland near the estate of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Dutchess County. (Informant Tresca was himself murdered in 1943 as he strolled down a New York street. His assassin was later identified as Mafia boss Carmine The “Cigar” Galante, who had accepted a SMERSH assignment to murder Tresca for a one-time fee of $50,000.)

    Next, Mink went to Barcelona, where, using the alias of Alfred Herz, he joined the anarchist brigade so that he could get close to Professor Camillo Berneri, an anti-Stalinist who had so angered Stalin by his virulent statements about the Soviet leader that the Russian dictator was seized by a screaming fit of rage, calling in his KGB chief to order Berneri’s execution. So beside himself was the distempered Stalin that he could barely manage the assassination order–he was reportedly foaming at the mouth at the time. Berneri and an aide were found shot to death and the bodies were mutilated. Mink, alias Herz, vanished from the rolls of the anarchist brigade a few hours later.

    Native born, or not, no one is immune or out of the reach of smersh till they die. Which is what its all about, either they get you, or you avoid them till the reaper gets you.

    Note that I gave more than one death in america. Poyntz was an american, and was killed in central park ny. tresca was also killed on a new york street, by the italian mob for a fee.

    This means that Paul Goble, is a shill… or ignorant… but if he is a specialist on soviet and post soviet states, and he can say that, then something is VERY wrong. some of the most famous operations that have been known for 40 or 50 years are then being ignored.

    Once again, like someone else here, he waffles from they are superior to they are inferior and cant be blamed for the actions of the people they train. Its been done so many times that its now standard operating procedure.

    “the Russian government’s lack of total control over all those in its security structures”

    While this may excuse the actions in some peoples minds, it also raises the question of why such people have access to nuclear weapons.

    Whether the Kremlin had a hand in Joyal’s attack, said Goble, it’s unlikely to be discovered. Many cut-outs would have been employed to separate Moscow and the thugs who shot him.

    Something’s rotten in Denmark. He knows about cut outs, and so forth, but doesn’t know about one of the hundreds of smersh operations. He is talking nonsense for public consumption.

    We know about the past, and so we will eventually know about this as well. he is banking as soviets always did, that no one defects or changes sides and tells what they know.

    But other security experts dismiss the likelihood of the Kremlin contracting out an assassination in the United States. The downside overwhelms any small advantage it could gain from silencing a critic here, not to mention the risk of getting caught.

    All that’s meaningless analysis. They have done assassinations in the US in the past, and the fact is that most murderers never get caught. The fact that they have M13, MS13, crips, bloods, Italian mob, posse, yakuza, tong, and many more to contract out the work makes it real easy.

    Their agenda is to pretend the cold war is not upon us again. and so that’s the party line and that’s what they are feeding. Many smersh operations, especially some of their most clandestine are specifically operations that have such a nature.

    I would not be surprised if we find out that the recent death of the billionaire was a smersh job using prussic acid (or formic acid – there are a dozen different claims as to the active agent)… it causes a heart attack and leaves no sign. The men that used the method have defected, and you can see their tools at a museum.

    If the biggest argument is that the Kremlin wouldn’t dare, then that is no argument at all since they have dared many times over, and continue to do so to keep illegal’s in line. Remember Georgi Markov? A Bulgarian journalist who lived in excile and detested the soviets and said so over broadcasts.

    At the request of the Bulgarian KGB, SMERSH unsuccessfully attempted to murder Boris Korczak, a suspected Polish double agent living in Virginia and reportedly working for the CIA. Vladimir Kostov, a Bulgarian living in exile in Paris, was also attacked by SMERSH agents but he, too, survived. Two other Bulgarians who had defected, a rocket technician living in Vienna and a newspaperman, had been liquidated by SMERSH operatives.
    Korczak had been jabbed in the back by a sharp instrument wielded by an unidentified passerby. He developed a high fever and was delirious for three days until he recovered. In September 1978, Georgi Markov stood waiting for a bus on Waterloo Bridge. A man in the crowd jabbed his thigh with the pointed end of an umbrella. He apologized for what seemed to be an accident and scurried away. Hours later Markov lay dying. The umbrella had actually fired a pinhead platinum pellet containing ricin–a poison made from castor oil plants–into Markov’s leg. Within hours Markov developed a high fever and then died of heart failure.

    So I have pointed out more than five people killed in the west by soviets.

    Paul Gobel should lose his job since he doesn’t know his job at all.

  3. How decent of you to say Joyal was shot in his intestines and that they were put back together. Actually, his genitals were blown off. Dubya knew it was a Russian hit, and called Putin on it, and gained Iranian concessions from Putin in return for a promise to desist from any more hits in the US. Joyal evidently got the message and clammed up. Have you heard him criticize anyone since. Nope.

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