Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Polonium 210 and Litvinenko revisited

AJ Strata argues new evidence shows that Alexander Litvinenko could not have been the victim of an assassination and therefore must have been poisoned by Polonium 210 he was handling accidentally. If true, this raises disturbing questions about what the Polonium was for and for whom it was intended. Because of its short half-life, if anything bad were intended of it, we ought to be hearing about it fairly soon -- unless of course whatever it was has been aborted.


Blogger summignumi said...

I am not sure if I would shed a tear if Paris had a half mile area that glowed for years to come suddenly, I would be upset if a part of London was to reach sun temperature for few brief seconds. The frenchy’s have always resented the Americans after our revolution turned out better and theirs went sour, the French have and are reaping what they have sown. “Bon au revoir et ne pas nous appeler nous vous appellerons !”

1/24/2007 04:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Please explain what exactly the French have to do with a Russian plot to smuggle Po-210 and/or assassinate Russian malcontents therewith?

Also, why would you wish such a thing on the French? I don't agree with much they've done over the past hundred years or so, but they are as much a pillar of western civilization as are the British.
"S'ils vont, nous allons les suivre, parce que nous sommes dans cette chose tous ensemble," whether we like it or not.

1/24/2007 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger summignumi said...

Swank, this was not a “assassination of a Russian malcontent” P210 is about as inefficient method and material to use for that purpose in a country that is not under your partial secrete services control (KGB, or what ever flavor of Eastern European Communist country KGB), no the primary use for P210 is achieving instantaneous temperature of the sun, if you had been reading the UK and Euro news you would see that (at least the Brit’s anyways) they have nearly come out and admitted the eminent use of a small nuke or dirty bomb.
As for the France’s evil, deceitful and absolute narcissist past, one simply has to look back as near as just a decade ago (can you say “Rwanda”) and look at their second class citizens that the French have caused by their centuries old belief that they are royal blood (currently the US is on that track with the Mexican’s), don’t get me wrong I am not blaming the common man in France but the elitist of their society for they do pull the strings much the way the communist party does now in China and the old USSR and if the Ted Kennedy’s, John Kerry’s, Barbra Streisand, Hillary Clintons, Nancy Pelosi, Barbra Boxer’s, ACLU and most of the college/university academia get there here too.

1/25/2007 01:54:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...


Why we are discussing the French on a post about Polonium, I do not know.

Nevertheless, truth must out.

but they are as much a pillar of western civilization as are the British

They were the pillar before 1812. Defeated, deflated, they shrunk to reality. Or its denial - absurdity.

Ou absudite.

Ever notice how weasel words in English are translated to French?

faux, for example.

If you read Private Eye, the British satirical magazine, you will be aware of a cartoon character called Hom Sap. He's a Roman yobo, well removed from the patricians. Anyway, he's listening to an orator at the Forum, who says - "All we want is Liberty, Equality, Fraternity"

To which Hom Sap shouts back "Make up your mind".

He means, in his dumb way, that if you have Liberte, you will not have Egalite, not to mention Fraternite.

This is the bit the Americans got right - your constitution must be about human frailty, original sin.

Humility. Not a virtu Francais, non?.

Now if the French could not see what democracy was all about, why are we trying this in the ME?


1/25/2007 03:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Yes, I read the article. Are you suggesting the Islamists intend detonating a Po-210 device in downtown Paris? If so, why wouldn't you shed a tear? Are you saying the French deserve it because of their narcissism? Are there acceptable and unacceptable targets within western civilization? Finally, would not a successful explosion in Paris presage another elsewhere?

You may not be blaming the 'common man' in France, but this is exactly who would suffer in the scenario you depict. Also thousands of innocent tourists from across the world, including the US (and also, it must be said, thousands of recent immigrants of North African descent).

I repeat, we are all in this together, like it or no.

ADE, re democracy: No kidding.

1/25/2007 05:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eurabia is a French project. If such a bomb were to explode in Paris, to my thinking, the French would be 100% deserving of it.

1/25/2007 08:02:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

"Deserves got nothin' to do with it."

On my extensive list of enemies of those who must die. The French are very low on the list. I like to keep my priorities straight. We all gotta die but I put Osama on top of my wish list.

Aside from the populist American bashing bullshit that has been so fashionable around the world, it is interesting to note that two face politicians say one thing and do another. The French have been extremely helpful in matters of pursuing Islamic terrorists. They've covered our back on more than one occassion. How hard would it be to turn our animosity against the killers and not openly cheer them on against weak allies?

1/25/2007 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger the mad fiddler said...

So easy to get sidetracked in these issues.

Whether France deserves punishment is not the point. The News item needs to be understood in the context of the technical knowledge available about that specific isotope of Polonium.

In *casually* researching issues nuclear power and nuclear weapons, I recall chancing on discussions of the trigger mechanisms for weapons, which indicated that a tiny amount of Polonium-210 mainly is useful for initiating the cascade of neutron-yielding fissions that quickly multiply and maximize the efficiency of a detonation.

Polonium-210 has a relatively short half-life — a little less than 140 Days. This means, among other things, that any trigger mechanisms using Polonium-210 would have to be refreshed every few months, because the breakdown products of the unstable nucleus tend to "poison" the reaction by absorbing the neutrons needed for it to do its job. This in turn means that any terrorist intending to use a device depending on Polonium-210 in its trigger mechanism has to get a FRESHLY MANUFACTURED sample within weeks of its intended use, •AND• have the technical knowledge for handling it.

It is a very RARE substance, either in is natural form as a trace element in pitchblende ore, or in its artificial forms manufactured by neutron bombardment of other elements. We're talking about a world-wide yearly production on the order of a hundred grams or so.

Basically, only GOVERNMENTS with nuclear reactors, cyclotrons, or sprawling ore-processing facilities, can afford to produce any significant amount of Polonium-210. It's conceivable that someone could steal some, but the tiny quantities available also suggest that it should be easy to keep the stuff locked up and guarded.

Because there are thousands of methods that would be faster, cheaper, more available, and less easily identifiable, Polonium as a murder weapon seems astoundingly cumbersome and insane. Of course it's possible, but it implies some sort of involvement by a government organization, and it also strongly suggests that someone is trying to prepare a nuclear device for detonation, and screwed it up.

Events have frequently shown that I don't know what I'm talking about, so I would love to hear from someone who DOES have specific knowledge.

1/25/2007 12:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The neutron “triggers” for a suitcase nuke are beryllium-9 and polonium-210.

Litvinenko, who was born an orthodox Christian, was a convert to Islam with close ties to the Chechen rebels. His last words consisted of his desire to be buried “according to Muslim tradition.”

[more on shooting a rat with a howitzer]

1/25/2007 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger John Schulien said...

The only plausable reason for millions of dollars worth of polonium to be in transit in the black market is for use in nuclear weapon triggers.

Polonium must be manufactured in a nuclear reactor and has a short shelf life, Once you obtain polonium, after 138 days half of your polonium will be gone. Another 138 days and you will have only a quarter of what you paid for, then an eighth, then a sixteenth, etc.

This is a warning sign about someone's nuclear weapons program. The warning is that they -- whomever they are -- have all of the fissionable material they need, and have assembled it into a bomb, and have everything completed except for the highly perishable initiator.

It won't be two years, it won't be five years. It's right now. As soon as they get their polonium, their nukes will be complete.

But who? North Korea? Iran? Someone else?

1/25/2007 09:23:00 PM  

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