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Utopia Talk / Politics / "Mafia" with polonium Jergulolz
Seb
Member
Thu Apr 12 13:24:47
Really?

Maffia did what, broke into one of the tightly controlled nuclear reactor, obtained some highly controlled nuclear substances with nobody noticing, just so they could kill Litvenenko?

It might be easier to synthesis a nerve agent and develop a novel weaponisation of it.

Or, I know, just hire a hit man to shoot him.

You are hilarious.
Paramount
Member
Thu Apr 12 13:34:28
If it was Putin, he could also just have shot him, and while he was in jail in Russia. But no, Putin had to wait until he was in London and use a weapon that would make everyone say: ”It was Putin!”.

:o)
Rugian
Member
Thu Apr 12 13:37:31
"Or, I know, just hire a hit man to shoot him."

Unlikely. Guns are banned in the UK, remember?

Anyway, maybe the mafia got their hands on a cyclotron or something.
Rugian
Member
Thu Apr 12 13:38:20
(seriously though jergul, wtf)
Rugian
Member
Thu Apr 12 13:45:08
Interesting of him to bring up the mafia though. Look what you get for results when you Google Litvinenko and mafia:

"New evidence presented to the Litvinenko Justice Foundation in London suggests he could have been killed to prevent him from testifying about Vladimir Putin’s links with Russian organised crime. A Spanish prosecutor says he had arranged to hear evidence from Litvinenko in November 2006 — a week after he drank a lethal dose of Polonium-210 in London."

http://www...ander-litvinenko-russia-murder
swordtail
Anarchist Prime
Thu Apr 12 13:53:14
http://www...the-death-of-litvinenko/73212/
Seb
Member
Thu Apr 12 14:10:55
Rugian:

"Unlikely. Guns are banned in the UK, remember?"

Generally that doesn't trouble organised crime, it just means that:
1. Cops don't need to assume everyone is armed
2. Petty crime doesn't involve lethal force
3. Organised crime tends to be less lethal too

Seb
Member
Thu Apr 12 14:15:46
Rugian:

Yeah. Those rogue cyncotron outfits are the worst. Black particle physics industry is frankly out of control. There was that case a few years back - "the black hole gang" - shipping fake leptons to unsuspecting punters and cutting baryons with dodgy quarks.

Nice old lady, thinks she's letting in someone to read the gas meter, few hours later the whole house is full of strangelts.

Total nightmare.
swordtail
Anarchist Prime
Thu Apr 12 14:43:21


The Specter That Haunts the Death of Litvinenko

By EDWARD JAY EPSTEIN, Special to the Sun | March 19, 2008

On December 1, 2006, one of the eeriest autopsies in the annals of crime was conducted at the Royal London Hospital. Three British pathologists, covered from head to toe in white protective suits, stood around a radioactive corpse that had been sealed in plastic for nearly a week. The victim was Alexander Litvinenko, a 44-year-old ex-KGB officer who had defected from Russia to England in November 2000 and had drawn on his experience to denounce the government of the newly installed President Putin. What the pathologists found is still a state secret.


Alexander Litvinenko in the intensive care unit of University College London Hospital on November 20, 2006, three days
before his death from radiation poisoning.


The mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of Litvinenko, apparently from radiation poisoning, spawned an international crisis. Britain demanded that Russia extradite a Russian citizen allegedly connected to the case. When it refused, Britain expelled four Russian diplomats from London, in reprisals reminiscent of the Cold War.

The British authorities had told the press, "We are 100 percent sure who administered the poison, where and how," but they refused to disclose their evidence. Nonetheless, the consensus that the Russian secret service was behind the poisoning was so powerful that a Washington Post editorial could assert that the poison "dose was almost certainly carried by one or both of the former Russian security operatives — one of them also a KGB alumnus — whom Mr. Litvinenko met at a London hotel Nov. 1."

To find out what evidence the British had actually provided to the Russians to back up their extradition request, I went to Moscow to meet with the Russian prosecutors in charge of the case. My investigation made it clear that far more was involved than the killing of an innocent dissident.

The Berezovsky Connection

Before Vladimir Putin took over the Kremlin in 2000, Russia's most powerful oligarch had probably been Boris Berezovsky. He controlled the country's largest television channel and a large part of the private economy, and served as deputy secretary of Russia's National Security Council. He also had his own protector in Litvinenko, the deputy head of the organized crime unit of the KGB's successor, the Federal Security Service, or FSB. But even Litvinenko could not help Mr. Berezovsky when Mr. Putin turned on him and had him investigated for massive fraud. In late 1999, Mr. Berezovsky fled to Britain, followed by Litvinenko a year later.

In London, Mr. Berezovsky had an extraordinary agenda, which he himself described as overthrowing the regime of his archenemy, Mr. Putin. Litvinenko, whom Mr. Berezovsky now supported through his foundation, took a key role in this ambitious enterprise. He wrote books accusing Mr. Putin's FSB of everything from collaborating with the leadership of al-Qaeda to framing Chechen rebels for bloody acts of terrorism that FSB agents themselves committed, such as the bombing of six apartment houses in which over 300 people died. In addition, Litvinenko also had less visible employment as a consult for two closely connected security companies housed in Berezovsky's office building at 25 Grosvenor Square.

The Slow Death

Litvinenko's day of reckoning came on November 1, 2006. First he had lunch at Itsu, a trendy sushi restaurant in Piccadilly, with an Italian associate, Mario Scaramella. Mr. Scaramella, who had flown in from Naples the night before, had been involved with Litvinenko in, among other things, a Byzantine plot to penetrate the operations of a suspected trafficker in prostitutes, arms, and enriched uranium. At that lunch, Mr. Scaramella gave Litvinenko some documents.

Litvinenko then proceeded to the Millennium Hotel, where he had an appointment to see Andrei Lugovoi, who had also served in the FSB up until 1999 and who now owned a private security firm in Moscow. He had been meeting with Mr. Lugovoi on his trips to London for several months, and two weeks earlier had brought him to Erinys International, one of the security companies in Mr. Berezovsky's building, to discuss a business proposal. According to Mr. Lugovoi, Litvinenko now wanted to discuss the progress of that venture, and so met him and his business associate Dmitry Kovtun in the crowded Pine Bar for tea. After leaving the Pine Bar, Litvinenko went to Mr. Berezovsky's office. When he returned home, according to his wife Marina, he felt ill. Two days later, he was admitted to Barnet General Hospital.

During his stay at the hospital, Litvinenko's condition continually worsened. The initial diagnosis was that he had been poisoned by Thallium, a non-radioactive toxin used in Russian rat poison. Since the KGB had reportedly used Thallium as a poison in the Cold War era, the theory gained traction in the press that Litvinenko might have been the victim of the FSB. As Litvinenko had been denouncing the FSB for six years, it seemed at least plausible that the FSB had sought revenge on him.

The main, if not only, source for the revenge-murder scenario were people funded by Mr. Berezovsky. A Web site in France, which had received financing from Mr. Berezovsky's foundation, circulated a report that there was a Russian "hit list" that had Litvinenko's name on it. Even though the "hit list" itself never materialized, it helped link the death of Litvinenko in the public mind with that of Anna Politkovskaya, the crusading journalist who had been murdered a month earlier, in October 2006, and whose name was also on the putative hit list. Meanwhile, a Chechen website, also supported by Mr. Berezovsky's foundation, ran stories such as "FSB Attempted to Murder Russian Defector in London."

At the hospital, Mr. Berezovsky's PR consultant, Lord Tim Bell, began briefing journalists, arranging interviews, and supplying photographs of an emaciated, hairless Litvinenko. Meanwhile, Litvinenko was moved to University College Hospital and given massive doses of the cyanide-based antidote for Thallium, which did not work. As Litvinenko's condition grew critical, Alex Goldfarb, the executive director of Mr. Berezovsky's foundation, prepared for Litvinenko's end by writing out his "deathbed" statement, which, according to Mr. Goldfarb, was drawn from statements Litvinenko had dictated to him.

A few hours after Litvinenko died on November 23, 2006, Mr. Goldfarb arranged a press conference and released the sensational deathbed statement accusing Mr. Putin of the poisoning. Giving further weight to this theory, British authorities switched the alleged crime scene from the Itsu restaurant, where Litvinenko had met the Italian Mr. Scaramella, to the Pine Bar, where he had met the Russian Mr. Lugovoi.

Just two hours before Litvinenko died, an unscripted surprise developed in the story: The hospital discovered that he had not been poisoned with Thallium. Instead, lab tests showed that he had in his body one of the world's rarest and most tightly controlled radioactive isotopes, Polonium-210.

The Polonium Warning

Polonium-210 is of great interest to the UN's nuclear proliferation watchdogs because it is a critical component in early-stage nuclear bombs. Both America and Russia used it as part of the trigger in their early bombs. So did most, if not all, countries with clandestine nuclear programs, including Israel, India, Pakistan, South Africa, and North Korea. To be sure, some of these nuclear powers shifted to more sophisticated triggers after they tested their weapons. Even so, as a declassified Los Alamos document notes, the detection of Polonium-210 remains "a key indication of a nuclear weapons program in its early stages." So when Polonium-210 was detected in Iraq in 1991, Iran in 2004, and North Korea in October 2006, the concern was that these countries might be trying to build a nuclear weapon.

When Polonium-210 was discovered in London in late November 2006 in Litvinenko's body, however, no such proliferation alarm bells went off. Instead, the police assumed that this component of early-stage nuclear bombs had been smuggled into London solely to commit a murder. It would be as if a suitcase nuclear bomb had been found next to an irradiated corpse in London, and everyone assumed the bomb had been smuggled into the country solely to murder that person. Michael Specter, in the New Yorker, for example, called it the "first known case of nuclear terrorism perpetrated against an individual." But why would anyone use a nuclear weapon to kill an individual, when a knife, bullet, or conventional poison would do the trick more quickly, efficiently, and certainly?

Certainly Polonium-210 is lethal once it gets into the blood stream. Before Litvinenko's death, six people died of exposure to Polonium-210 — two in a radiation lab in France, three in a nuclear facility in Israel, and one in a nuclear research lab in Russia. All resulted from accidental leakage of Polonium-210. Because it is unstable, turning into a gas at 55 degrees Celsius, it is extremely difficult to handle. It is also expensive.

The Mythic Smoking Gun

A scientist by training, Mr. Goldfarb authoritatively asserted in his book "Death of a Dissident," written with Marina Litvinenko, that "97% of the known production of Polonium ... takes place in Russia." Since little else had been written about this rare isotope, many commentators assumed it was an established fact. An article in the New Yorker noted, "Nearly all of it [Polonium-210] is produced in Russia." To make such a determination, it is necessary to know both how much Polonium-210 is produced in Russia and how much is produced in other countries. Yet, as Polonium-210 production is a closely guarded secret, neither quantity is known. In 2006, neither Russia nor any other country in the world admitted manufacturing any Polonium-210 at all. Russia's nuclear authority claims that the sole reactor that had been manufacturing its Polonium-210 had been shut down in 2004, and the small quantity exported to America in 2005 and 2006 — approximately 3 ounces each year — came out of its stockpile.

No doubt Russia could secretly manufacture Polonium-210, a process that first requires radiating the metal Bismuth in a nuclear reactor and then extracting from it the Polonium-210. But so could America, Britain, China, France, India, Israel, Pakistan, Taiwan, North Korea, or any other country whose nuclear reactors have not been inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN's watchdog for Polonium production. When I asked an IAEA scientist about who had produced any Polonium-210 in 2006, he said, "We simply don't know." He added that North Korea might have produced large quantities, "kilograms not grams," at its Yongbyon reactor for its nuclear tests in October 2006, but the actual amount is uncertain.

The Polonium-210 found in London could also have come from stockpiles in many countries, including America. According to the IAEA's Illicit Trafficking Data Base, there had been 14 incidents of missing industrial Polonium-210 since 2004. The minute amount found in London — possibly no more than one-millionth of an ounce — could have come from many sources, ranging from the American industrial supply and stockpiles in Russia to the remnants of the A.Q. Khan network in Pakistan and the North Korean surplus. So news reports, such as the one in the Washington Post that "Polonium is produced and held almost exclusively in Russia," are at best speculation.

The British Gambit

The British prosecutors aided the flight from reality by filing an extradition request in July 2007. Not only was there no extradition treaty between Britain and Russia, but Article 61 of the Russian Constitution prohibited the extradition from Russia of any of its citizens. Further inflaming matters, Sir Tony Brenton, the British Ambassador to Moscow, suggested that the Putin government should disregard the Russian constitution and "work with us creatively to find a way around this impediment," since British authorities had "cooperated closely and at length with the Russian Prosecutor General's Office." After Russia rejected the extradition request, Ambassador Brenton objected that its decision was not made "on the basis of the evidence," which implied that Britain had furnished Russia with compelling evidence to back up its request. Then Britain expelled four members of the Russian embassy in London, effectively holding the Russian government responsible for Litvinenko's death, and began an international imbroglio.

The suspect named in the extradition request is Andrei Lugovoi, who, according to the British, poisoned Litvinenko's tea in the Pine Bar when they met on November 1, 2006. Mr. Lugovoi admitted to meeting with Litvinenko to discuss a business venture with him, but denied having anything to do with his death. Mr. Lugovoi also had been contaminated by Polonium-210, but so was almost everyone else who had come in contact with Litvinenko around that time. Since Ambassador Brenton had suggested that the incriminating parts of the case had been given to the Russian authorities to back up the extradition request, I went to Moscow to find out about more about that evidence.

The Moscow Inquiry

The Kremlin is not known to be forthcoming with secret documents, but, in this instance, I was asking to see British, not Russian secrets. Even so, obtaining access to them was not easy. By the time I arrived in Moscow in late November 2007, the Russian Prosecutor General had consigned this (as well as other high-profile investigations) to a new unit called the National Investigative Committee. It was headed by Alexander Bastrykin, a former law professor and a deputy attorney general from St. Petersburg, who was just assembling his staff in a non-descript but well-guarded building across the street from Moscow's elite Higher Technical University in the district of Lefortovo.

Before I could meet officials in a conference room there to review the British file, my resourceful research associate in Moscow had spent many weeks sending the necessary documents to Mr. Bastrykin and his staff. There were other bureaucratic requisites, such as my agreeing to indemnify the Russian government for any costs that resulted from disclosing the British evidence, submitting my proposed questions, and agreeing not to identify by name any of the officials working for the Committee and refer to them collectively as the "Russian investigators." Then I was told, "The media often reproach the Russian side for its unwillingness to cooperate with the British side, when in reality the situation is reverse." As if to demonstrate this point, the Russian investigators provided me with access to the British files.

What immediately caught my attention was that it did not include the basic documents in any murder case, such as the postmortem autopsy report, which would help establish how — and why — Litvinenko died. In lieu of it, Detective Inspector Robert Lock of the Metropolitan Police Service at the New Scotland Yard wrote that he was "familiar with the autopsy results" and that Litvinenko had died of "Acute Radiation Syndrome."

Like Sherlock Holmes's clue of the dog that didn't bark, this omission was illuminating in itself. After all, Britain and Russia had embarked on a joint investigation of the Litvinenko case, which, as far the Russians were concerned, involved the Polonium-210 contamination of the Russian citizens who had contact with Litvinenko. They needed to determine when, how, and under what circumstances Litvinenko had been exposed to the radioactive nuclear component. The "when" question required access to the toxicology analysis, which usually is part of the autopsy report. There had already been a leak to a British newspaper that toxicologists had found two separate "spikes" of Polonium-210 in Litvinenko's body, which would indicate that he had been exposed at two different times to Polonium-210. Such a multiple exposure could mean that Litvinenko was in contact with the Polonium-210 days, or even weeks, before he fatally ingested it. To answer the "how" question, they wanted to see the postmortem slides of Litvinenko's lungs, digestive track, and body, which also are part of the autopsy report. These photos could show if Litvinenko had inhaled, swallowed, or gotten the Polonium-210 into the blood stream through an open cut.

The Russian investigators also wanted to know why Litvinenko was not given the correct antidote in the hospital and why the radiation had not been correctly diagnosed for more than three weeks. They said that their repeated requests to speak to the doctors and see their notes were "denied" and that none of the material they received in the "joint investigation" even "touched upon the issue of the change in Litvinenko's diagnosis from Thallium poisoning to Polonium poisoning." They added, "We have no trustworthy data on the cause of death of Litvinenko since the British authorities have refused to provide the necessary documents."

The only document provided in the British file indicating that a crime had been committed is an affidavit by Rosemary Fernandez, a Crown Prosecutor, stating that the extradition request is "in accordance with the criminal law of England and Wales, as well as with the European Convention on Extradition 1957."

The Radiation Trail

The British police summarized their case against Mr. Lugovoi in a report that accompanied the extradition papers. But instead of citing any conventional evidence, such as eyewitness accounts, surveillance videos of the Pine Bar, fingerprints on a poison container (or even the existence of a container), or Mr. Lugovoi's possible motive, the report was almost entirely based on a "trail" of Polonium-210 radiation that had been detected many weeks after they had been in contact with the Polonium-210.

From the list of the sites supplied to the Russian investigators, it is clear that a number of them coincide with Mr. Lugovoi's movements in October and November 2006, but the direction is less certain. When Mr. Lugovoi flew from Moscow to London on October 15 on Transaero Airlines, no radiation traces were found on his plane. It was only after he had met with Litvinenko at Erinys International on October 16 that traces were found on the British Airways planes on which he later flew, suggesting to the Russian investigators that the trail began in London and then went to Moscow. They also found that in London the trail was inexplicably erratic, with traces that were found, as they noted, "in a place where a person stayed for a few minutes, but were absent in the place where he was staying for several hours, although these events follow one after another."

When the Russian investigators asked the British for a comprehensive list of all the sites tested, the British refused, saying it was not "in the interest of their investigation." This refusal led the Russian investigators to suspect that the British might be truncating the trail to "fit their case."

Despite its erratic nature, the radioactive trail clearly involved the Millennium Hotel. Traces were found both in rooms in which Mr. Lugovoi and his family stayed between October 31 and November 2, and the hotel's Pine Bar, where Litvinenko met Messrs. Lugovoi and Kovtun in the early evening of November 1. If Litvinenko's tea was indeed poisoned at that Pine Bar meeting, as the British contended, Mr. Lugovoi could be placed at the crime scene. But other than the radiation, the report cited no witnesses, video surveillance tapes, or other evidence that showed that the poisoning had occurred at the Pine Bar. It could just as well have occurred early in the day at other sites that also tested positive for radiation.

Litvinenko, who was probably the best witness to that day's events, initially said he believed that he had been poisoned at his lunch with Mr. Scaramella at the Itsu restaurant. Even one week after he had been in the hospital, he gave a bedside BBC radio interview in which he still pointed to that meeting, saying Mr. Scaramella "gave me some papers.... after several hours I felt sick with symptoms of poisoning." At no time did he even mention his later meeting at the Pine Bar with Mr. Lugovoi.

Not only did the Itsu have traces of Polonium-210, but Mr. Scaramella was contaminated. Since Mr. Scaramella had just arrived from Italy and had not met with either Mr. Lugovoi or Mr. Kovtun, Litvinenko was the only one among those people known to be exposed to Polonium-210 who could have contaminated him. Which means that Litvinenko had been tainted by the Polonium-210 before he met Mr. Lugovoi as the Pine Bar. Litvinenko certainly could have been contaminated well before his meeting with Mr. Scaramella. Several nights earlier, he had gone to the Hey Joey club in Mayfair. According to its manager, Litvinenko was seated in the VIP lap-dancing cubicle that later tested positive for Polonium-210.

The most impressive piece of evidence involves the relatively high level of Polonium-210 in Mr. Lugovoi's room at the Millennium Hotel. Although the police report does not divulge the actual level itself (or any other radiation levels), Detective Inspector Lock states that an expert witness called "Scientist A" found that these hotel traces "were at such a high level as to establish a link with the original Polonium source material." Since no container for the Polonium-210 was ever found, "Scientist A" presumably is basing his opinion on a comparison of the radiation level in Mr. Lugovoi's room and other sites, such as Litvinenko's home or airplane seats. Such evidence would only be meaningful if the different sites had been pristine when the measurements were taken. However, all the sites, including the Millennium hotel rooms, had been compromised by weeks of usage and cleaning. So the differences in the radiation levels could have resulted from extraneous factors, such as vacuuming, or heating conditions.

The Russian investigators also found these levels had little evidentiary value because the British had provided "no reliable information regarding who else visited the hotel room in the interval between when Lugovoi departed and when the traces of polonium 210 were discovered." As a result of this nearly month-long gap, they could not "rule out the possibility that the discovered traces could have originated through cross-contamination by outside parties."

Hospital tests confirmed that Messrs. Lugovoi, Kovtun, and Scaramella and Litvinenko's widow, Marina, all had some contact with Polonium-210. But it is less clear who contaminated whom. The Russian investigators concluded that the all the radiation traces provided in the British report, including the "high level" cited by "Scientist A," could have emanated from a single event, such as a leak — by design or accident — at the October 16 meeting at the security company in Berezovsky's building. But they could not find "a single piece of evidence which would confirm the charge brought against A.K. Lugovoi."

Britain may have had more incriminating evidence against Mr. Lugovoi than it chose to provide to Russia. It may not have wanted to share data that would reveal intelligence sources. But why would it refuse to share such basic evidence as the autopsy report, the medical findings, and radiation data? And if Britain wanted to extradite Mr. Lugovoi, why would it send such embarrassingly thin substantiation? Mr. Putin blamed British incompetence, saying, "If the people who have sent us this request did not know that the Russian Constitution prohibits extradition of Russian citizens to foreign countries, then, of course, this would make their level of competence questionable." But here he may have underestimated the British purpose in staging this gambit.

The End Game

Before the extradition dispute, Russian investigators, in theory, could have questioned relevant witnesses in London. Their proposed roster of witnesses suggested that Russian interest extended to the Russian expatriate community in Britain, or "Londongrad," as it is now called. The Litvinenko case provided the Russians with the opportunity for a fishing expedition, since Litvinenko had at the time of his death worked with many of Russia's enemies, including Mr. Berezovsky; his foundation head, Mr. Goldfarb, who dispensed money to a web of anti-Putin websites; his Chechen ally Akhmed Zakayev, who headed a commission investigating Russian war crimes in Chechnya (for which Litvinenko acted as an investigator), and former owners of the expropriated oil giant Yukos, who were battling in the courts to regain control of billions of dollars in its off-shore bank accounts.

The Russian investigation could also have veered into Litvinenko's activities in the shadowy world of security consultants, including his dealings with the two security companies in Mr. Berezovsky's building, Erinys International and Titon International, and his involvement with Mr. Scaramella in an attempt to plant incriminating evidence on a suspected nuclear-component smuggler — a plot for which Mr. Scaramella was jailed after his phone conversations with Litvinenko were intercepted by the Italian national police.

The Russians had asked for more information about radiation traces at the offices of these companies, and Mr. Lugovoi had said that at one of these companies, Erinys, he had been offered large sums of money to provide compromising information about Russian officials. Mr. Kovtun, who also attended that meeting, backs up Mr. Lugovoi's story. Such charges had the potential for embarrassing not only the security companies that had employed Litvinenko and employed former Scotland Yard and British intelligence officers, but the British government, since it had provided Litvinenko with a passport under the alias "Edwin Redwald Carter" to travel to parts of the former Soviet Union.

The British extradition gambit ended the Russian investigation in Londongrad. It also discredited Mr. Lugovoi's account by naming him as a murder suspect. In terms of a public relations tactic, it resulted in a brilliant success by putting the blame on Russian stonewalling for the failure to solve the mystery. What it obscured is the elephant-in-the-room that haunts the case: the fact that a crucial component for building an early-stage nuke was smuggled into London in 2006. Was it brought in merely as a murder weapon or as part of a transaction on the international arms market?

There is little, if any, possibility, that this question will be answered in the present stalemate. The Russian prosecutor-general has declared that the British case is baseless; Mr. Lugovoi, elected to the Russian Parliament in December 2007, now has immunity from prosecution, and Mr. Scaramella, under house arrest in Naples, has been silenced. The press, for its part, remains largely fixated on a revenge murder theory that corresponds more closely to the SMERSH villain in James Bond movies than to the reality of the case of the smuggled Polonium-210.

After considering all the evidence, my hypothesis is that Litvinenko came in contact with a Polonium-210 smuggling operation and was, either wittingly or unwittingly, exposed to it. Litvinenko had been a person of interest to the intelligence services of many countries, including Britain's MI-6, Russia's FSB, America's CIA (which rejected his offer to defect in 2000), and Italy's SISMI, which was monitoring his phone conversations.

His murky operations, whatever their purpose, involved his seeking contacts in one of the most lawless areas in the former Soviet Union, the Pankisi Gorge, which had become a center for arms smuggling. He had also dealt with people accused of everything from money laundering to trafficking in nuclear components. These activities may have brought him, or his associates, in contact with a sample of Polonium-210, which then, either by accident or by design, contaminated and killed him.

To unlock the mystery, Britain must make available its secret evidence, including the autopsy report, the comprehensive list of places in which radiation was detected, and the surveillance reports of Litvinenko and his associates. If Britain considers it too sensitive for public release, it should be turned over to an international commission of inquiry. The stakes are too high here to leave unresolved the mystery of the smuggled Polonium-210.

jergul
large member
Thu Apr 12 14:43:22
Ruggy
Russia and Ukraine were corrupt cleptocracies at the time. You could get ahold of absolutely anything.

"As production of polonium-210 was discontinued in most countries in late 2000s, all of the world's legal polonium-210 (210Po) production occurs in Russia in RBMK reactors.[43][80][81] About 85 grams (450,000 Ci) are produced by Russia annually for research and industrial purposes."

Wiki

So sidetracked polonium meant for research and industrial purposes.

Maybot
You are trite.
jergul
large member
Thu Apr 12 14:49:02
Ruggy
I am not disputing the likely culprits, but weight their role as "businessmen" a lot higher than I do their positions as former Kgb.

ST
"my hypothesis is that Litvinenko came in contact with a Polonium-210 smuggling operation and was, either wittingly or unwittingly, exposed to it."

Sounds about right.
Sam Adams
Member
Thu Apr 12 16:44:26

"2. Petty crime doesn't involve lethal force
3. Organised crime tends to be less lethal too"

Yet londons crime is rising rapidly and now passing much of the us. Loloops.
Sam Adams
Member
Thu Apr 12 16:45:32
Jerguls weak propaganda is testament to the lack of honor in russian society.
Sam Adams
Member
Thu Apr 12 16:46:27
Always trying to weasel out of responsibility. Very russian.
Seb
Member
Thu Apr 12 16:54:42
jergul:

The half life of Po210 is something like 130 days.

Any Po used to kill Litvenenko will have been recently produced. Stuff from pre-putin era, to have a lethal dose they would need to have had at that point over 1g diverted just to produce the dose that killed litvenenko. Which is about 1/16th of global supply. Quite a lot to go missing and have no inventory. And highly unlikely because even then, Russia had fairly robust nuclear monitoring: it being heavily funded by the US to prevent precisely this.

As for the idea of the Maffia smuggling Po210 - for what purpose exactly - Black Market anti-static brushes and RTGs? And why exactly would they waste their precious merchandise on murdering Litvenenko if that was their product?

It's a fantastically expensive way to kill someone.

As a poison, Litvenenko remains the only known person to have been poisoned with Po.

Pretty much the only reason to kill someone with Po is if you really want everyone to know that Russia did it, while leaving deniability. Pretty much like Novichok.

Jesus jergul, how hard are you going to be shilling for Russia?

Seb
Member
Thu Apr 12 16:56:01
Sam:

London crime is still below US equivalent urban centres.
There's been a spree of stabbings from gang crime in one month.

Seb
Member
Thu Apr 12 16:56:30
Imagine if those youth gangs had semi-automatics.
Seb
Member
Thu Apr 12 16:57:38
Litvenenko ran into a polonium smuggling ring, and what, ate their entire stock by accident?
Seb
Member
Thu Apr 12 17:03:27
Oh, it's about 100g produced annually, I had thought it was about 18g. I might be thinking of a specific reactor.
Seb
Member
Thu Apr 12 18:17:55
Just flipping through the OPWC report summary.

"The TAV team notes that the toxic chemical was of high purity. The latter is
concluded from the almost complete absence of impurities."

Jergul, I thought you assured us all this would be impossible to determine in a non-controlled environment?
jergul
large member
Fri Apr 13 03:07:53
Maybot
"lack of impurities" is not equal to "degraded by hydrolysis". Given that water would be the primary and most likely contaminant from the production process.

I am against dogmatic "There is only one explanation and that proves *whatever*"

Weak minds practice that and I am starting to see why you are not in academics. You lack scientific vigour and are quite trite.

Doses are measured in microgrames re: polonium.

Sammy
I just trashed the entire soviet block (ukraine and Russia) for being thuggish cleptocracies willing to do anything for a buck (including running off with something that could be used to build a nuclear bomb).

And you call that supporting Russia? Geeze.
Seb
Member
Fri Apr 13 03:51:33
Jergul:

You are doing a Sam now.
Your argument was environmental degradation means purity couldn't be determined.

My point was the primary mechanism for environmental degradation would be hydrolysis which is easy to account for.

Impurities would largely be side chain reactions during synthesis, their absence points to a very well practiced operation. I.e. not a DIY job by experimentally minded maffia chemists.
Seb
Member
Fri Apr 13 03:53:01
In fact, my point was purity would be one of the indicative bits of evidence supporting UK govt conclusion, and what was probably meant by military grade.

Seb
Member
Fri Apr 13 03:54:58
Take 1g and apply successive half lives since early 2000 to the year Litvenenko died.


You get micro grams.
Seb
Member
Fri Apr 13 03:56:17
What's your market size estimate for black market Po 210?
Seb
Member
Fri Apr 13 03:57:02
And what's the use case for it that makes registered trade undesirable to turn to the Russian mob?
jergul
large member
Fri Apr 13 06:09:30
Maybot
My argument was that water would be the primary contaminant from production and purity could not be determined without knowing environmental specifics and also the point in time the chemical was exposed to the environment.

The low level of other impurities indicate that the chemical was not purchased from the local krokodil-dealership and that an actual laboratory with trained chemists are behind the production.

Or why don't I take 1776 and apply successive half-lives? Since we are choosing arbitrary years.

"Registered trade" in a Russian and Ukrainian mid 2000nds contexts is a ludicrous thought. Almost as ludicrous as thinking the Russian mob is a distinct entity.

Someone or some group of people saw the opportunity to get ahold of something that could very well have business applications, so they took it.

That is sort of how cleptocracies work, bro.
Seb
Member
Fri Apr 13 06:42:39
Jergul:

"My argument was that water would be the primary contaminant from production"

Unlikely. I remember making and hydrolysing organic compounds with phosphor groups back in A level chem.

It's easy to exclude water.

Impurities are most likely to be side products.

You picked the time! Pre Putin Russia.

But even then that's an international controlled substance which there were in Russia at the time sponsored and staffed internationally.
jergul
large member
Fri Apr 13 07:24:57
Maybot
Anything is easy in bench production. But thank you for indicating small-batch chemistry is not exactly rocket science. It sort of undermines your argument of state monopoly, though.

Anyway, production hydrolysis was what I was thinking of when I made the argument. That you find it unlikely to have happened is beside the point.

Russia was a mafia driven cleptocracy far into the Putin presidency. At least until 2012.

No doubt the internationally controlled substance has perfect paperwork specifying exactly what industrial or research purpose the substance was used for.

Alas, it was used for something else.

Seb
Member
Fri Apr 13 07:27:24
Jergul:

It's easier in any industrial setting too.

Just distillate.
Seb
Member
Fri Apr 13 09:13:54
So, let me just get this straight again - do jump in to correct me -

your feeling is that the most likely explanation of Alexander Litvenenko is that he uncovered a maffia group that dealt in stolen polonium.

And that maffia group then poisoned Litvenenko, with it's own merchandise.

A means of gangland killings pretty much unique in history.

Just so we are clear.
jergul
large member
Fri Apr 13 10:53:41
Maybot
I think the most likely explanation is that Litvenko had dealings with businessmen who had access to polonium through business connections.

It is unclear that the businessmen in question knew the specifics of the compound beyond it being highly toxic if injested. The main suspects displayed a curious lack of fear for radiation poisoning in their handling of it.

Again, your theory fails on the assumption of state monopoly.

No, the Russian Federation is not the only possible culprit, nor is even the most likely balance of probability culprit.

The UK reacted as it should at the time. It investigated the murder in cooperation with interpol and Russia, then demanded extradition of a suspect. 4 Russian diplomats were expelled when the request was refused.
Seb
Member
Fri Apr 13 11:59:22
That's hilarious.
Sam Adams
Member
Fri Apr 13 12:04:41
The dishonesty of the russian state can be seen in the dishonesty of their excuses and propaganda.
jergul
large member
Fri Apr 13 17:43:51
Sammy
Politicians have been honest since when, exactly?

Maybot
Yawn. How trite.
Sam Adams
Member
Fri Apr 13 18:07:03
Some pols are more dishonest than others. Russians are right at the top.
jergul
large member
Fri Apr 13 18:26:25
Sammy
The UK government is pretty corrupt. Trump targets key Putin allies and hits them really hard (the Russian stock markets, rouble and key companies shook). Why did not May follow that lead with UK sanctions?

The answer is because it would cost UK conservative party members a lot of money.
Paramount
Member
Sat Apr 14 13:29:08
Moscow on Saturday accused the global chemical weapons watchdog OPCW of manipulating the results of its investigation into the poisoning of former Russian spy.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Swiss experts who had received biomedical samples from Sergei Skripal found it contained traces of the nerve agent BZ used by the West.

"According to the results of the examination, the samples had traces of toxic chemical BZ and its precursors," Lavrov said.
"In this regard we are asking the OPCW why the information which reflected the conclusions of specialists from the Spiez Laboratory was completely omitted from the final document."

http://afp...ulating-skripal-probe/a/bKBobA

It sounds like someone is covering shit up so that blame can be put on Russia.
swordtail
Anarchist Prime
Sat Apr 14 13:37:10
hmmm...........
swordtail
Anarchist Prime
Sat Apr 14 13:42:17
Spiez Laboratory‏ @SpiezLab · 47m47 minutes ago


 More

Replying to @EmbassyofRussia @OPCW and 9 others

As designated lab of the OPCW we cannot independently comment this assertion. OPCW has to clarify.

Seb
Member
Sat Apr 14 13:46:24
Paramount:

So, the idea is that the West poisoned skripal using bz, its own nerve agent, but covered it up using a Russian nerve agent in a false flag operation?

Why on earth would it use bz if novichok does the trick?

It's amazing you guys fall for this crap. Russian disinformation is not exactly a surprise.
Paramount
Member
Sat Apr 14 13:56:24
So how do you explain that they found bz in the samples but did not include that it in the final document?
Paramount
Member
Sat Apr 14 14:05:43
Maybe they could not get hold on to any novichock, because as they say: only Russia has it. So they used BZ. And then they created fake search results documents saying that they found traces of novichock.

But the Spiez lab somehow failed to create this document, or they returned the real results (bz) by mistake, and not the fake documents (novichock) as they were supposed to do.

I’m not a Sherlock Holmes or anything, but I think this theory isn’t that bad :)
Seb
Member
Sat Apr 14 15:12:03
PAramount:

Simple -

1. they didn't find BZ - the Russians are making shit up, like they do.

2. A false flag operation wouldn't add BZ to the mix, and wouldn't need to add BZ to the mix as novichok is fine on its own.

If there are traces of BZ but way below the novichok level, then the Russians added it to futz things. They are the only one that would benefit from doing so - they want it to be very clearly Russian agent so that everyone knows Russia will come and kill you if you are a traitor, but create enough deniability and general fud to make it politically difficult to respond because chumps like you are more worried about western governments than the psychopath in the Kremlin.

Your outline is bizarre. Why would the OPWC conspire with the UK? Why would the UK want to give the impression it can't protect it's assets? Why does the UK want to create a political showdown with Russia?

This is all bollocks. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. When Putin repeatedly says he's going to kill traitors, he means it.

He traded Skripal for Anna Chapman, and put Skripal on a hit list - particularly as Skripal is still providing useful information on KGB techniques and trade craft in training UK counter inteligence and helping review info to give opinions on what is genuine to UK counter inteligence.







Seb
Member
Sat Apr 14 15:13:10
Next the Russian's will be saying that they've detected tiny writing on the molecules spelling out "I did it! Hahahaha - Theresa May"
Seb
Member
Sat Apr 14 15:17:25
Putin could invade Gotland and nuke Stockholm with one of his antique prop driven bombers with a giant fucking Russian flag behind it - deny it point blank - and you will still be wondering if it is a false flag operation and those are secretly American troops in disguise, and if Israel droped the bomb.
Seb
Member
Sat Apr 14 15:17:39
Everything is possible and nothing is true.
Seb
Member
Sat Apr 14 15:18:07
The best part is you will think you are being clever and sophisticated by keeping an open mind about it.
jergul
large member
Sat Apr 14 15:41:10
Maybot
Skripal retired from the GRU 20 years ago. His information certainly would meet quality standards the UK bases its narratives on, but would not represent anything you could not find in The Sun.
jergul
large member
Sat Apr 14 15:47:47
Incidentally, contamination with BZ is not a smoking gun proving western intelligence involvement.

It does suggest that reported purity levels may be exagerated (everything is very pure if you ignore contaminants), and also suggests a non-state source mucking about with different toxic compounds giving cross contamination.

The Russian story is verifiable. Either the Swiss laboratory found BZ, or it did not.
Seb
Member
Sat Apr 14 16:26:48
Useful Idiot:

Not hugely useful, but of some use. And therefore ongoing treachery.

"A Swiss expert" whose findings are not in the report circulated (So how does Russia know) a cover up!

jergul
large member
Sat Apr 14 16:50:22
Useless idiot (Maybot)
Verifiable. Either the Swiss labaroatory found BZ, or it did not.

We will await verification before considering it as factual that BZ indeed contaminated the novichuk compound.

Its the scientific approach. You may have heard of it in passing at some undergraduate lecture you dozed through.
jergul
large member
Sat Apr 14 16:55:03
MOSCOW, April 14. /TASS/. Russia has submitted a question to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) asking why results of the analysis, pertaining to the Skripal poisoning, carried out by Swiss experts at the Spiez laboratory were not included in the final report, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Saturday at an annual Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy.

"The clinical picture fits in better with the use of BZ chemical. None of those factors, to say nothing of BZ, were mentioned in the report that OPCW experts had presented to the Executive Council," Lavrov said.

"In this connection, we are asking the OPCW a question: Why was the information that would reflect conclusions of the experts from the laboratory in the city of Spiez omitted in the final report?".


More:
http://tass.com/politics/999847
jergul
large member
Sat Apr 14 16:57:27
Pretty straight forward. Russia asked the OPCW to explain why information was seemingly excluded.

I know it a novel idea for some, but why don't we just see what the OPCW says?
Seb
Member
Sat Apr 14 17:01:47
Jergul:

Lariv is effectively saying the Swiss based lab doctored the report. So, of course, any denials are to be expected.
jergul
large member
Sat Apr 14 17:12:08
Maybot
That theory suggests you have not published very many collaborative studies.

Lavrov is effectively saying that Russia wants to know why findings from some of the report's collaborators were seemingly excluded.

The OPCW will provided an explanation and then we will know the reasoning behind the decision (assuming something was in fact excluded. The Russian question gives OPCW the opportunity to verify or deny).

Now, I see this is troubling to you, as you live in a world were accusations become the truth. But for most of us, the claims that BX contaminants were found actually has to be verified before we will accept them as true.

Like I said, all it would do in any event is indicate that the novichuk compound was contaminated by BX and that would more strongly suggest a non-state actor, than it would British intelligence.

Cross contamination indicating that perhaps it was a local krokodil dealership behind the production after all.
Seb
Member
Sat Apr 14 17:31:39
Jergul:

What evidence is there that any evidence was withheld?

Btw, another example of double standards. You accuse the UK of lying when their claims are not supported by published evidence. But you'll accept prima facie Russian claims.

BX is different that cross contamination in manufacture is implausible.
jergul
large member
Sun Apr 15 02:20:49
Maybot
I am merely asserting there is clear evidence that Russia asked the OPCW for clarification on why information was seemingly withheld from the rapport.

The OPCW can verify, or deny that information was withheld and clarify why information was withheld if that was the case.

Btw, another example of you being dylexic. I accuse the UK of pushing a narrative way beyond what available evidence allows.

I was repeatedly very clear on not accepting Russian claims as true until they are verified.

Bz is indeed a different compound. Which is why cross contamination would be indicative of a non-state actor producing various compounds with limited assets and some procedural flaws (cleanliness being next to godliness in these things too).

Learn to read, bro.
jergul
large member
Sun Apr 15 02:21:30
Dyslexic* I probably should not leave out letters in that word.
Seb
Member
Sun Apr 15 09:13:02
Jergul:

I can read and comprehend perfectly fine. It's not unusual for people with cognitive biases (which you admit to having) to fail to notice logical gaps in their own statements.

You explicitly stated the UK govt lied - not that it exceeded what was in the public domain - which is in any case pretty meaningless as the UK government has been clear most info can't be shared in the public domain in a timely way.

The basis for this aleged lie is the discrepancy between the public info and the conclusions the UK govt said it had reached overall.

I suggested you wait and see.

And here you are suggesting the OPWC has a case to answer based on information Russia can only have if it has agents inside an OPWC lab. Evidence it has not disclosed.

You can see the parallels and discrepancy - but we know (because you admit openly) you hold Russia to lower standards and afford them greater credibility.

The only question is why on earth you would do so.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Sun Apr 15 09:42:18
How did this lab get a sample?
jergul
large member
Sun Apr 15 10:25:10
Seb
If follows from dyslexia that you do in fact have problems reading and comprehending. How cute of you not to understand that at your age (your type of spelling errors give you away, same as mine show I am a foreigner).

Link? I explicitly stated I have no doubts at all that May believes her own narrative.

You are the one tossing the term "lie" about.

The discrepancy between what conservative party shrews are saying. I rather suspect that we are being drawn into the same kind of internal conservative party bullshit that gave rise to a referendum and brexit not so long ago.

The UK is going way beyond what available evidence suggests. You did not suggest we should wait and see. You suggested we assume secret evidence exists and we should put our faith in that.

I am essentially waiting and seeing incidentally. Because May can be condemned a lot harsher if it turns out she has little besides secret conjecture to rest her narrative on.

The OPWC has to respond to Russia. Russia has made a claim that can be verified or dismissed by the OPWC.

Let us perhaps wait for verification or denial before making a mountain out of what is still a pretty minor molehill (all Cz contamination does is indicate a non-state actor).

Nimi
The OPWC sent it to that and two other laboratory.
Seb
Member
Sun Apr 15 14:08:14
jergul:

RE Dyslexia, no it does not actually - you've slightly misdiagnosed me too - but I'm under no obligation to explain why. Chalk it up to another instance of you making a tit of yourself online by assuming you know more than you do.

"Link?"

http://www...hread=82348&time=1522966452346

"jergul
large member Wed Apr 04 08:51:37
Seb
No, the point was to show solidarity with the UK and react against a chemical incident on UK soil. Based on what the UK had told it allies (which we now know have been established as lies)."

Three comprehension fails in that statement alone jergul.

I then asked you on what basis you felt this had been established. You replied:

"Boris lying to his allies and outed by the executive director of the research facility."

I asked you to clarify the statement you felt was a lie, which you declined to do initially but from context and your subsequent reference to Parliament it seems safe to assume it was the statement to the German press; which you later appeared to confirm:

"I was looking at what Boris said in a broadcast interview. "

We examined the interview transcript:

Q:"you argue that the source of this nerve agent, novichok, is Russia. How did you manage to find it out so quickly? Does Britain posesses samples of it?"
A: "Let me be clear with you... When I look at the evidence, I mean the people from Porton Down, the Laboratory..."
Q: "So they have the samples...?"
A: "They do. And they were absolutely categorical and I asked the guy myself, I said 'Are you sure?' And he said there's no doubt".

So as I said at least three reading comprehensions alone in that statement (and possibly a fourth). Let us count them:

Firstly, we did not know then and still don't know exactly what the UK told it's allies, so it could not at that point have been said that these had been established as lies.

Secondly, the statement Boris gave was to the German press, so any supposed lie in that statement cannot "establish" that the UK Govt lied to his allies, just to the press. There is arguably a second comprehension failure here (or you may count it as a special case of the previous): the Government has always said (as I reminded you) that it's evidence came from a number of sources - so even if Boris's statement was a lie, it doesn't mean that the UK could not have had other evidence to present from other sources.

Thirdly, did he lie? Reading the transcript it is not clear at all that he lied - it appears his response is confirming the certainty regarding the chemical itself rather than origins - eliding the change in subject of the question is certainly useful if you are an opposition party wishing to attack the government; but that is no reason to be fooled.


So really Jergul, the lack of careful reading and application of critical thought here is demonstrably on your part and mostly likely - given your general history of being more astute in such matters - linked to confirmation bias. As you have said, you hold the UK to higher standards than Russia. When someone is determined to find evidence of malfeasance, they do tend to find it.

Seb
Member
Sun Apr 15 14:09:29
jergul:

"You did not suggest we should wait and see"

If you look in the thread linked above, you will see on a number of occasions I concluded "We shall see".
Seb
Member
Sun Apr 15 14:12:26
"You suggested we assume secret evidence exists and we should put our faith in that."

Hmm, no. Given this started as an assessment of the UK Govts handling (I attribute this more to the preparedness of Sedwill than May to be honest) - then yes we can probably speculate the evidence she had must have been compelling enough.

As I said on a number of occasions, handling of this situation does not require persuading the general public - only allied governments. You don't need to take anything on faith, because for the purposes of achieving a desired response here (and for the purposes of assessing whether it was handled well) - your personal belief in evidence is irrelevant.
Seb
Member
Sun Apr 15 15:57:30
Also, I think is safe to assume that secret evidence does exist - not only does the government say it does (It would be unusual if at least some of the evidence available to inform a governments conclusion on such a matter were not classified as Secret) some of it has already leaked out.

It should not be a controversial matter to make that assumption.

Nor - given the change in policies we saw from allied governments and the degree of diplomatic coordination - is it unreasonable to say that whatever evidence it was, it was certainly compelling.

Whether or not you personally believe Russia did it or would be prepared for form that conclusion absent of viewing the primary evidence yourself is neither here nor there.
jergul
large member
Wed Apr 18 12:09:46
http://tass.com/world/1000511

Clarified! A control sample contained the Bz precusor Q3. Not the Salisbury sample.

Question asked and answered.
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