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January 02, 2007

Russia Accuses Another Exile In Poisoning Plot

Fairly convenient how one Putin enemy is poisoned and another Putin enemy turns out to be the poisoner. At least according to Russian prosecutors:

Prosecutor General's Office said yesterday it suspects former co-owner of YUKOS Leonid Nevzlin of being involved in the poisoning of former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko in London. Nevzlin also became suspected in being linked to the “poisoning of Russian citizens with toxic agents”. Nevzlin’s lawyer Dmitry Kharitonov believes that Prosecutor General's Office is pushing for Nevzlin’s extradition from the U.S.. Nevzlin said the Office’s statements are “complete nonsense which is not worth any comments”.

...

The Office’s statements were transmitted to news agencies with “urgent” markings on them.

I'll bet they were.

Countries, including the US, have refused to extradite Nevzlin into Putin's tender mercies.

Nevzlin has a big list of accusations against him:

Leonid Nevzlin is a former Russian business oligarch and the former CEO of the Russian oil company Yukos. After several officers from his company were arrested for murder and other crimes, he fled to Israel. In November 2003, he was granted Israeli citizenship.

On 14 July 2005, the Russian Government asked the United States Government to hand over Nevzlin to face prosecution in Russia. Nevzlin has been charged with various offenses, with one of them including organization of a contract killing. "Nevzlin, who was Yukos owner Mikhail Khodorkovsky's right-hand man, has been charged with "entering into a criminal plot with Yukos' internal and economic security chief Alexander Pichugin to kill certain individuals who posed a... danger to the company, and to Nevzlin and Pichugin," Prosecutor General's Office said.

...but I have trouble taking any claim coming from Putin's thugs at face value, and this all seems rather too convenient for Putin.

I keep asking how difficult it is to detect Polonium poisoning. Those who claim a frame-up of Putin seem to think Polonium is easily detected, and thus the radiation trail would lead to him, seemingly, and by intent.

Still no real answer on that -- is the MSM interested in such trifling details? -- but this article suggests it's hard to detect:

Pound for pound, polonium-210 is at least a million times more toxic than hydrogen cyanide, the poison used to execute prisoners in gas chambers, according to medical toxicology books. Radiation safety experts calculate that a single gram of polonium could kill 50 million people and sicken another 50 million.

But it is extremely hard to get. About 100 grams — or 3 1/2 ounces — are produced each year, primarily by Russia.

It is also elusive. Whereas most radioactive elements emit gamma rays, which register on radiation detectors, polonium-210 instead emits alpha particles.

"There was no way that forensic scientists could detect it" until it had done its damage, Emsley said.

It also explains why Polonium winds up being scattered all over London:

Unlike other radioactive elements, polonium-210 is relatively safe to transport. Highly lethal gamma rays pass through most substances, but alpha particles — each composed of two protons and two neutrons — can be blocked by a sheet of paper or the thin layer of dead cells on the surface of the skin.

To kill, polonium must be inhaled or ingested so that it is in direct contact with healthy tissue.

"I could put it in a tiny Ziploc bag, and I would be fine," said Dooley, president and chief executive of MJW Corp., a consulting firm in Amherst, N.Y., that specializes in radiological and health physics services.

But that doesn't mean it's easy to handle. Polonium-210 is a determined escape artist.

The energy produced as it naturally disintegrates is so great that "small chunks, perhaps a few hundred atoms in size, are blasted out of the surface and then drift around the room," Zimmerman said.

"It would tend to creep around the lab," Dooley said. "If you had polonium in an open jar and you left it overnight, the next thing you knew, it would be all over the lab. It would jump on a dust particle and end up on lab benches and floors and things."


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posted by Ace at 11:01 AM

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