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November 24, 2006

Ex-Russian Spy Dies, Poisoned By Polonium 210

Vladimir Putin immediately claimed that it was "very common" to be poisoned by the rare-element radioactive isotope Polonium 210, and suggested that he probably got it "from bad clams."

The bad old days are back.

large quantity of radiation, probably from a substance called Polonium 210, has been found in the body of dead ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko.

The "major dose" of alpha radiation was detected in his urine, said Government experts, who added that Polonium 210 is only dangerous if ingested.

They also revealed that police have found radiation at three locations: his Muswell Hill home, a central London sushi bar where he ate shortly before falling ill, and a hotel where he had met two Russians that morning.

Dr Pat Troop, head of the Health Protection Agency, said the death was an "unprecedented event in the UK" and he had "apparently been poisoned by a type of radiation".

The ex-spy/defector-turned-reporter was named Litivenenko -- I'm pretty sure he wrote a book I read called "Inside the KGB."

How Putin remains popular is beyond me. Yes, I suppose people appreciate that the Russian economy is doing better than it has been, and that he's a "strong man" when it comes to Chechnyan terrorism.

But he's quite obviously murdering people. That still gets a pass in Russia?

More on those "Russian businessmen:"

A Russian former intelligence officer was quoted in a newspaper on Friday as saying he and two other men met ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko in a London hotel on November 1, the day before Litvinenko complained of feeling unwell.


Businessman Andrei Lugovoy, a former officer in the FSB state security service, told Kommersant daily newspaper that he had known Litvinenko since 1996 and had been in touch with him in London several times over business affairs.

"There was nothing personal in our contacts -- only business," Lugovoy was quoted as saying.

It's just business.

So: The radioactive material turned up at the bar and hotel where he met the "former" Russian security agents.

The only mystery here is why the hell they were still in Britain at the time of the arrest.

Perhaps Putin's arrogant-yet-crude killers didn't think they'd find the polonium.

Flashback: Ukraine's Yushchenko was likely poisoned by an exotic and never-identified poison, too.

The infamous before and after:

Whoah! It seems that he may have been poisoned via sushi as well:

The Austrian doctors who treated him initially said they could not confirm the cause of the illness.

Food poisoning was the first diagnosis made by Ukrainian doctors on 6 September.

Mr Yushchenko's political opponents suggested he had eaten bad sushi, washed down with too much cognac.

One rival presidential candidate said he always stuck to more patriotic food, such as pork fat and vodka.

It makes sense. If you have a poison you think can't be identified because it's so rare, slip it into a food often blamed for poisonings. Doctors, finding no recognizable poison, will eliminate deliberate poisoning as a possibility and blame it, vaguely, on the obvious potential culprit of bad fish.

More at HotAir: I'm not sure if the poisoning occurred at the sushi bar; while radiation was found there, he seems to have met the obvious suspects earlier.

It could be a case of knowing he was going to eat sushi, or arranging for him to do so, so that the "bad fish" theory would be in play.

As if it's not already obvious what happened, Captain Ed lays it out:

ne does not find polonium just laying around somewhere; itís rather rare, and difficult to produce in any quantity. However, small quantities are all that are needed for poisoning someone, as the maximum safe ingested dose is 0.03 microcurie. Itís 25 billion times more poisonous than hydrocyanic acid. Anyone who attempted to deploy this as an assassinís weapon has to have a lot of expertise in handling polonium ó which again strongly indicates a government assassin at work. It practically convicts Putin by its use.

And the tricksy thing is that it's hard to discover it, I guess. Putin was relying on that fact -- that it's hard to find the poison unless you break out just about every piece of analytical equipment you have.

Arrogant, crude, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.

Just because Russians are too lazy and unmotivated to look for rare toxins doesn't mean the western world is.

What the hell happens now?

We pretty much know Putin committed murder in Britain. (Soliciting a murder that is then carried out puts one on the hook for murder, too.)

So what, exactly, do you do?

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posted by Ace at 05:21 PM

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