Saturday, January 13, 2007

Polonium Polanaise Permutations

What a way to die!

Imagine, your guts sunburned from the inside, the pain of a three year battle with cancer condensed into a three week holiday in a modern London hotel, the doctors not being able to tell you just what it is that destroying you from the inside -- not until the very end, when they find you're pissing radioactivity...

You were poisoned with polonium 210 and that is a bummer!

Somebody must have hated you very very much. It is also very likely they wanted to "send a message". But who, what is the message and to whom? Also, how? How was it acquired and how did they get it inside you?

Litvinenko believed it was Putkin or agents of his secret services. Putkin and his media say that it was one of the exile Russian oligarchs. After having read about it off and on these past two months, I say it was likely a secret service of one of the world powers.

Polonium is weird shit.

With a half life of only three months it is extremely radioactive -- so much so that it must be kept in a closed container as the strong alpha radiation breaks off small bits of the slivery gray metal and they will simply float away.

It emits no gamma radiation, however, and cannot be detected by the scanners in airports.

Therefore, although it has been five years since any of the stuff has been officially brought into Britain, it would be easy to smuggle in a glass or metal vial. A teaspoon or so of liquid would be enough to sweeten somebody's tea and send them to eternity.

When I first wrote about the murder of Litvinenko, a commenter wrote that you could buy it over the internet. I kind of laughed at the idea -- but it's true enough, for less than one hundred dollars you can get a tiny, needle eye portion. If you smack down one million dollars and buy fifteen thousand bits you would have enough for a lethal dose.

Sounds like something a private person with a big wallet could do? Well, not really, Livinenko was taken out with a dose ten times larger. Besides ten million dollars, how are you going to make so many orders without it being noticed? It would be noticed, at least after it was known that someone had been murdered with it!

That is another weird thing about polonium, as soon as they knew what they were looking for, the police have been able to find traces in many places Litvinenko had been -- it came out in his urine and even his sweat, not enough to endanger anyone, but enough to be traceable

Where does polonium come from? Originally, it came from pitchblende. Madame Curie discovered one of its more stable isotopes because she and her husband noticed that the ore was more radioactive after uranium had been separated. She named the newly discovered element after her homeland, Poland.

But that is not where the polonium 210 which killed Litvinenko came.

Polonium 210 is made from bismuth 209 by exposing it to a strong neutron source in a nuclear reactor. Almost all the world production comes from a single source, Avangard in Russia, where barely three ounces are made yearly.

So, what killed Litvinenko likely came from Russia -- but by what route?
Most of the stuff is sold to the United States, where, alloyed with other metals, it is used in industry.

The Russians say that they have a very strict auditing system and that security at Avangard is very tight. There have been some shipments lost -- I have read that fifteen shipments have been lost, most of them in the US. But where, when and how large the shipments were, I have not been able to find.

So, it remains a mystery and you really need a first class tin foil hat to figure this one out. It's at least as strange, in fact it compares to the anthrax murders of 2001 in that it is so high tech. The anthrax murders were apparently staged to create fear that it was from some muslim country (Iraq?). But we know that the powder of death certainly came from a weapons lab in the US.

It's kind of obvious that Putkin's Russia is a suspect here -- or is this another high-tech smear?

I have no good ideas on this. I do know that it could be an excellent component of a dirty bomb no bigger than a small briefcase. For a time, back in the fifties, it was used, alloyed with beryllium, as the "trigger" in U235 bombs, but, because of its short half life (in three years almost all of it has decayed into an isotope of lead!) it was discarded.

What I am saying is that, as with the anthrax in 2001, in fact, as with the Twin Towers, things just don't add up like they should.

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