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British Police Identify Killer in Radiation Case 235

Posted by Zonk
from the hercule-poirot-to-the-white-phone-please dept.
reporter writes "According to a front-page story by The Guardian, British authorities have identified Andrei Lugovoi to be the murderer who used radioactive pollonium-210 to kill Andrei Litvinenko. The British government will ask Moscow to extradite Lugovoi. The Guardian states: 'Associates of the dead man have repeatedly accused President Vladimir Putin's government of being behind his murder, a claim the Kremlin rejects. While it is known that detectives believe they have uncovered evidence pointing to Mr Lugovoi's involvement, it is not clear whether they have established a motive for the murder'"
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British Police Identify Killer in Radiation Case

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  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Friday January 26, 2007 @07:39PM (#17778124) Homepage Journal
    because not only is he interested in high tech assassination, he's also in favor of Open Sores.
  • YRO? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hereschenes (813329)
    What the hey does this have to do with Your Rights Online?
    • Re:YRO? (Score:5, Funny)

      by martin-boundary (547041) on Friday January 26, 2007 @10:14PM (#17779686)

      What the hey does this have to do with Your Rights Online?
      Online is a code word for electricity, and electricity is produced by nuclear power plants, and where there's nuclear power plants, there's plutonium, and plutonium was used to poison the Russian guy, and killing Russians is not allowed in Britain, and things that aren't allowed are written down in the Law, and the Law sets out your Rights, for values of your which are compatible with whichever Law applies, so that's why Your is capitalized.

      But Britain is an industrialized society, so I don't think it's got anything to do with hay or hey as it's sometimes written.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by LiquidCoooled (634315)
        Actually, knowing some of the laws of this country, its probably legal to kill a russian, however he didn't fill in all the correct forms or even apply for a license.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by flyingsquid (813711)
          Actually, knowing some of the laws of this country, its probably legal to kill a russian, however he didn't fill in all the correct forms or even apply for a license.


          Even if you *did* have a license, it's only legal to kill Russians during Russki season, which is March-April.

  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Friday January 26, 2007 @07:45PM (#17778204) Journal
    Haha! Busted. He left a radioactive trail all over London, even in an airplane he travelled on. He's the only person who can be tied to all the locations they've found traces of radioactive polonium. Of course, he's claiming someone set him up by following him around and dropping the stuff wherever he went. We'll see if the Russians will hand him over. If they don't, it's gonna look mighty suspicious. If they do, he's gonna say Putin put him up to it, whether he did or not.

    The UK may have to hand over a scummy billionaire who profited immensely off of the rush to privatize Russia, which would be cool: two scumbags busted for the price of one.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by JohnnyGTO (102952)
      He'll be dead before he hits British shores.
    • by residue (462525) on Friday January 26, 2007 @07:58PM (#17778384)
      Berezovsky is actually not a scumbag -- he never did anything outrageously illegal, just the usual machinations necessary in a lawless nation like Russia to make any money. Contrast this with the Stalin-esque purgings of dissenting voices that are rampant in Russia these days.

      At the same time, he has stood for the liberalization of the media and government structures, for which he was ordered exterminated by Litvinenko. In a tyrannical atmosphere that is Russia right now, that deserves a lot of credit.
      • by Cyberax (705495) on Friday January 26, 2007 @08:53PM (#17779024)
        What??

        He openly provided funds to Chechen terrorists. He openly declared his plans to violently overthrow Russian government. If both of these are legal, then I'm Santa Claus.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26, 2007 @09:32PM (#17779338)
          Can I have a pony?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by nuzak (959558)
          > He openly provided funds to Chechen terrorists.

          Openly? Cite it. He seems to be particularly guilty of having a big mouth ("That includes taking power by force, which I am working on") but it's hard to imagine having any success in seizing Moscow with Chechen fighters.

          Not that I think Boris is a champion of liberty -- he's probably even more of a crook than Putin and Yeltsin -- but his criticism of the Chechen war doesn't exactly make him Al Qaeda.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Cyberax (705495)
            No problem.

            http://www.forbes.com/forbes/1999/1101/6411090a.h t ml [forbes.com] (print version: http://www.forbes.com/forbes/1999/1101/6411090a_pr int.html [forbes.com] )

            When pressed, Maskhadov names the man he sees as the prime villain in the affair: tycoon Boris Berezovsky. For the past several years Berezovsky has been channeling ransom payments to terrorists in Chechnya who have kidnapped visitors. Berezovsky boasts of his rescue efforts, but, says Maskhadov, the ransom money has dark consequences: It finances the Islamic militias, which are now attacking Russia.

            In a recent interview with Le Figaro, Berezovsky admits to the payment. "I gave him this money ... to begin the reconstruction of the republic," he says, adding that his money does not go to support war against Russia.

            And this is just the result of 5 minutes of Internet search. I'm sure you can find more such examples, that's why the Russian Office of Public Prosecutor still wants him.

        • by KZigurs (638781)
          Dear Ignorant Idiot.

          There was no Chechen terrorists. None. Not a single one. A few street thugs does not justify a mass genocide that Putin started. The same situation actually applies 1:1 for US and Afghanistan/Iraq, upcoming Iran mess. You start genocide, you get your terrorists. Usually ordinary guys that have been driven out of their homes, have their sisters/daughters violently raped/killed by FightersForFreedom or just is driven insane by constant CNN reports claiming that they ARE the terrorists. Wha
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Cyberax (705495)
            Dear ignorant idiot. First of all, I live in Russia, fairly close to Chechnya (its border is about 250 km from my home).

            Second, there ARE Chechen terrorists, just come close to Chechnya (preferably, to mountainous region) and see it yourself.

            Chechens fully deserve the beating, because during early 90-s they forced about 500000 Russians to move out of Chechnya (talk about displaced ordinary guys), including some of my distant relatives.

            And how about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budyonnovsk_hostage_c risis [wikipedia.org] ?
    • by Walt Dismal (534799) on Friday January 26, 2007 @08:08PM (#17778540)
      Could we trade Darl McBride to the Russians in exchange for... well ...let's give him to them for free.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by jd (1658)
        I was thinking we should ask the US to parachute Darl McBride into the borderlands between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The worst that can happen is that he'll use up all of the Taliban's money suing half the middle east for infringing on spice-based intellectual property.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by EnglishTim (9662)

      The UK may have to hand over a scummy billionaire who profited immensely off of the rush to privatize Russia, which would be cool: two scumbags busted for the price of one.


      Actually, the courts have already ruled that Boris Berezovsky cannot be returned to Russia, so even if there was the political will to return him, it seems unlikely that they could do anything about it.
      • Mod Parent Up (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Valdrax (32670) on Friday January 26, 2007 @08:33PM (#17778822)
        Already, the Russians are claiming that it's against their Constitution to allow extraditions. [bbc.co.uk] (Read the last paragraph in the article.)
      • by X.25 (255792)
        Actually, the courts have already ruled that Boris Berezovsky cannot be returned to Russia, so even if there was the political will to return him, it seems unlikely that they could do anything about it.

        Fair enough, but why would UK then expect Russia to extradite anyone to UK? It's damn confusing. Are they just playing "diplomatic" games here? Or they have to officially make these requests even if they know it won't work?
        • Why would the UK expect it anyway? It was known from the beginning that Russia does not extradite its citizens.
          If the UK is lucky, Russia will try Lugovoi. If they aren't, Russia will ask to try Berezovsky for this murder. (Yes, Russia is doing its own investigation...)
        • by EnglishTim (9662)
          They don't know that it won't work, and they have to give it a try. Perhaps there's some deal they can make that doesn't involve Berezovsky. Certainly it's in the best interests of both countries not to get into a big diplomatic tizzy about it. The question is whether the Russians believe that the British politicians really can't do anything sending Berezovsky.
    • Billionaire (Score:4, Informative)

      by Morosoph (693565) on Friday January 26, 2007 @08:34PM (#17778830) Homepage Journal

      The UK may have to hand over a scummy billionaire who profited immensely off of the rush to privatize Russia, which would be cool: two scumbags busted for the price of one.
      This billionaire might indeed be scummy, but he wouldn't receive a fair trial, according to English Courts, so extradition is off. As the article says, the Russians will, most likely, not accept this as an excuse.

      In fact, this is the whole problem: to Russia, the concept of an independent judiciary is not credible.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by annenk38 (163418)
      In all likelihood, the brits knew who was behind it from the very beginning. The question was whether they would want to butt heads with Russia over a small nut like Litvinenko. The assasination in itself was merely a shot across Berezovsky's bow, who's lately become a major nuisance to Russia's geopolitical interests. In that sense, the alleged assasin has only done his duty for his country, nothing more, nothing less. Something else must have forced the issue to resurface -- perhaps the recent gas "sh
      • Well, I did hear that British Petroleum was sharing some platforms with a Russian corp. Maybe BP can get the rest of the platforms back.
        Or, Russia could simply give the UK St. Petersburg. Remove the Russian citizens first, since Russia cannot legally extradite anyone, but leave the artwork and ships.
        Pity that Chernobyl is in the Ukraine...
  • by TigerTim (968445) on Friday January 26, 2007 @07:48PM (#17778254)

    I think this is a real test case of whether the notion of the UK as a nation holds any actual power in the World. The Russian constitution, as I understand it, obliges the Russian government NOT to render Russian citizens for extradition, despite the fact that in Britain the defendent will assuredly recieve a fair trial (either in the UK or by analogy to the Lockerbie case, in a third country).

    If the Russian government DID sponsor an assassination within British territory, it is an affront to our sovereignty and should be exposed. If on the other hand it was NOT, then it is equally desirable that the Russian government be cleared of that.

    If the UK does not take a strong, principled stand on this issue, then I feel that our identity of "British" is very probably meaningless.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by alshithead (981606) *
      I'm not real sure how this applies but Russia did allow a diplomat with diplomatic immunity to be tried in Washington DC after he killed someone while drunk driving. He was tried, convicted, and spent time in a US prison. Eventually, he was allowed to return to Russia before his sentence ended and then served time there. If I remember correctly, he didn't end up serving the entire sentence handed down by the US court but, US citizens usually don't either. If they can suspend his diplomatic immunity can
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by malsdavis (542216)
        There is quite a large disparity between that case and this one however in that the case you mentioned was a local offence that was not politicaly sensitive and not in the legal area for which diplomatic immunity is for. This case however is politicaly sensitive and may or may not involve the Russian government, unlike the other case, there are many overriding reasons why the Russain governemnt would not wish to hand over the suspect.
        • "This case however is politicaly sensitive and may or may not involve the Russian government, unlike the other case, there are many overriding reasons why the Russain governemnt would not wish to hand over the suspect."

          Good point. If the Russian government is actually involved, they sure as hell won't want allow extradition.

          "there are many overriding reasons why the Russain governemnt would not wish to hand over the suspect"

          Although, I don't see any other obvious reasons not to allow extradition.

          "the case
          • by megaditto (982598)
            Russia's Putin is essentially on trial, and the police are asking him to hand over this ex-KGB guy to essentially testify on Putin's behalf.

            If you were Putin, would you hand the guy over?
            Or a better analogy, would you let your ex-girlfriend or a wife to be called as a character witness to testify on your behalf?

            There are several options here:

            1) The girl could say you are a great guy, loving, kind, and incapabale of hurting anybody. She could even admit to being the actual murderer and get you off the hook.
            2
      • Russia did allow a diplomat with diplomatic immunity to be tried in Washington DC after he killed someone while drunk driving. He was tried, convicted, and spent time in a US prison.
        Was there an extradition any where in there? They say possession is 9/10 of the law.
        • by Rich0 (548339)
          Agreed - the US had control over the person, so all they wanted is approval from Russia to try him. They could have tried him with or without it (from a purely practical perspective). Unless Russia wanted to send in special forces there was no way he was getting out of the US.

          In the present situation everything is reversed. The fugitive is on Russian soil, and unless the UK performs an invasion they aren't going to get him onto British soil. So, the exact same forces that tended to lead to the US having
      • by GlobalEcho (26240)
        Given what I have read about Russian prisons, I think a year in one of those is probably more severe punishment than a decade in a U.S. prison.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Have you been at the Gaffer's homebrew again? I think the status of the UK as a nation state is pretty much universally recognized (for a few centuries now). And besides, extradition is governed by international law; if a state has no extradition treaty with another country, they're perfectly within their rights to refuse an extradition request. What this case gets at is the status of Russia as a fair, open, democratic state.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by iminplaya (723125)
      To the people with the power on display here, the terms "British" and "Russian", you name it, don't exist. They don't see it that way. They have a target, location, and a date and time and that's the only thing that matters. They are not distracted by such ubsurdities as "sovereignty" and "identity". And we shouldn't be either when going after them. Bah, What am I talking about? The CIA and other allied intelligence agencies already operate that way. As a matter of fact, isn't this a case of the pot calling
    • Besides, I'd be more concerned about some Russian nut dribbling radioactive dust all over the countryside. What a wierd murder weapon. I don't think we'll ever find out what this was all about.
    • by Guppy06 (410832)
      "I think this is a real test case of whether the notion of the UK as a nation holds any actual power in the World."

      Compared to whom? The US is still waiting for France to extradite French citizen Roman Polanski to answer a rape charge. "No extradition" often means just that, unless you think that the UK should hold countries to violate their own constitutions.
    • by malsdavis (542216)
      "I think this is a real test case of whether the notion of the UK as a nation holds any actual power in the World."

      I don't agree at all. I think that historical events and affairs along with the specific treaties and circumstances of the two countries will be the major determining factor in their relationship.

      If the U.S.A., China or any other country was in Britain's position, their relationship with Russia would be mainly based on the various elements I described (along possibly with others), rather than o
  • ya right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mastershake_phd (1050150) on Friday January 26, 2007 @07:50PM (#17778274) Homepage
    10:1 this guy dies mysteriously or disappears.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by 91degrees (207121)
      The British don't do that sort of thing. Well, they probably do, but officially they don't, so they have to make sure they're incredibly subtle. He may well be killed through some completely unrelated but completely plausible reason, in a manner that that only the craziest conspiracy theorist would ever link to MI5.
    • 10:1 this guy dies mysteriously or disappears.

      Very perceptive, but I'd say the odds are too high. I'd put it at 3:1 right now. If it looks like Russia is going to have to hand him over, it'll get closer to even money.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by LiquidCoooled (634315)
      What I want to know is why this guy isn't already dead?

      If he carried this polonium round for so long and was effectively oozing with the stuff, why isn't he in the same place as his victim?
    • I would agree with you. but I thought that about the Lockerbie bombers too, and I was wrong about that.
  • by Karganeth (1017580) on Friday January 26, 2007 @07:57PM (#17778378)
    There was absolutely no need for the James Bond style assasination. Why not just shoot the bugger using a silencer? Advantages of using a gun:

    1. Weapon doesn't decay.
    2. Don't need to visit a nuclear reactor (which will have very restricted access on) to get one.
    3. Doesn't leave a HUGE trail of everywhere you have been with it.
    4. Less chance of target surving long enough to give full description of you.

    This assasination was far too elaborate...
    • by dave420 (699308)
      You can buy polonium 210 on the internet, btw.
      • by Shihar (153932)
        You can, but you would need to make 10,000 orders of it to get the amount that was used to kill this poor bastard. 10,000 orders to a private address is a tad suspicious.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      There was absolutely no need for the James Bond style assasination. Why not just shoot the bugger using a silencer? Advantages of using a gun: 1. Weapon doesn't decay. 2. Don't need to visit a nuclear reactor (which will have very restricted access on) to get one. 3. Doesn't leave a HUGE trail of everywhere you have been with it. 4. Less chance of target surving long enough to give full description of you. This assasination was far too elaborate...

      I think whoever did this is going for a kind of terroris
      • by Jacer (574383)
        Darth Sidious ran for president in the Ukraine?
      • I think whoever did this is going for a kind of terrorism. They want to scare the hell out of their enemies. Like the guy who ran for president in Ukraine and was disfigured by a mysterious poison. Scary stuff.

        +1 most insightful comment on Slashdot all week. If you just want to shut up Litvinenko, knife him in an alley and take his wallet so it looks like a robbery. But if your goal is to shut everyone else up, make an example of Litvinenko and kill him using an exotic poison so everyone will know who did

    • by Anonymous Coward
      A traditional staged mugging or hit and run style assassination doesn't send the same kind of message: "we've got radiological weapons and can deploy them in the heart of one of the West's greatest cities".

      The method of this assassination was intended to create a specific kind of fear among people who pay attention to these sorts of things. Putin's transformation of Russia is nearly complete.
    • Actually, it was a perfect assassination. Did you see how the guy perished? All his hair fell out. He sat in a hospital bed for a tremendous amount of time. He suffered. He bled internally.

      Why was it a perfect assassination? Because it involved radiation which inherently causes anyone to shiver, and it caused a slow, painful, agonizing death, which sends about as big of a message as publicly drawing and quartering the guy.
      • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
        Because it involved radiation which inherently causes anyone to shiver, and it caused a slow, painful, agonizing death, which sends about as big of a message as publicly drawing and quartering the guy.

        Like the stories about Oleg Penskovsky who was a double-agent from Soviet military intelligence (GRU). After he got caught and found guilty of treason, he supposedly didn't get shot - instead, he got put into an incinerator while still alive. Supposedly, the movie of the execution was shown to new GRU recr

      • His death was likely planned to be slow and painful... revenge for accusing Vladimir Putin of being a pedophile among other things.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      There were many less obvious and easier ways to do it.

      It seems apparent that it was the assassin's intension to show that it was an assassination by a well connected person, and to get a lot of media attention. They also wanted him to die slowly and make his accusations.

      It seems likely the assassination is associated with Putin, committed by either a supporter or an opponent. A supporter might make others more fearful of dissidence. It would also end his speaking out against the administration, but his assa
      • by Fnkmaster (89084)
        Ya know, I keep seeing these complicated theories about people wanting to frame Putin by making it look like he ordered the assassination while it was actually an opponent who had done so. But if somebody was trying to frame Putin, you'd figure that Putin's government would be eager to extradite the killer and prove their actual innocence and disavow any protection of the murderers.

        In fact, the Russian government has been absolutely, unequivocally refusing extradition, and they have been doing so since wel
    • by mordors9 (665662)
      But that's the problem with fancy weapons... you just have to use them when the opportunity presents itself.
    • by greppling (601175)

      There was absolutely no need for the James Bond style assasination. Why not just shoot the bugger using a silencer? Advantages of using a gun:

      1. Weapon doesn't decay.

      2. Don't need to visit a nuclear reactor (which will have very restricted access on) to get one.

      3. Doesn't leave a HUGE trail of everywhere you have been with it.

      4. Less chance of target surving long enough to give full description of you.

      2. It is not that difficult (but expensive), in my understanding, to get Polonium.

      3. Polonium doe

    • Actually, the only disadvantage was that the assassin was not hugely competent. Carrying a gun attracts attention in the UK. The quantity of polonium was absolutely minute, and so long as it was inside at least a paper or plastic bag there would be no emitted radiation. You could carry around enough Po to kill a lot of people and it would be almost totally undetectable.

      When you give it to somebody, it obligingly hides in the body so by the time it is identified, it's far too late to do anything. It is nearl

    • by Ash Vince (602485)
      However slow death from the inside in this manner could just mean he had really pissed someone off and they wanted to make sure he got a long painfull televised death that the person ordering it could watch and gloat over.
  • by Stonent1 (594886) <stonent AT stone ... intclark DOT net> on Friday January 26, 2007 @07:59PM (#17778404) Journal
    Could we change the Slashdot headline to say they have charged someone. Legally a representative of the police or any legal branch of a government, would not say "We've identified the killer". It is up to the courts to decide if he killed someone, not the police. The police can only supply evidence to the prosecutor and a jury will decide if he did it or not.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ozbird (127571)
      The missing word is "alleged".
    • A better question (Score:4, Interesting)

      by thule (9041) on Friday January 26, 2007 @08:19PM (#17778672) Homepage
      Should it even be a homicide investigation or a smuggling investigation? Why would anyone poison someone with many more times the amount required to kill them with a material that is so expensive and easy to trace? There are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay easier ways to kill someone. Ways that would garner much less attention.

      Why poison the person multiple times when one time would be enough? We know it's multiple times because the police believe it to be multiple exposures. How would they know this unless the decay or signatures were different between exposures?

      The amount is very puzzling. The amount is a huge amount of the material. It was so much that it left a blemish in the tea cup. Something on orders of 100 watts of heat from the Po-210.

      I'm not big on conspiracy theories, but it seems to me there has to be much more to this story. What were these guys really up to?
      • by ptbarnett (159784) on Friday January 26, 2007 @08:47PM (#17778976)
        Why would anyone poison someone with many more times the amount required to kill them with a material that is so expensive and easy to trace? There are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay easier ways to kill someone. Ways that would garner much less attention.

        And that's exactly why I believe this method was used.

        No individual or even group would have been able to get that much polonium, without at least the tacit approval of a government with a sufficiently advanced nuclear program. The list of potential suppliers is very short.

        This was a message, which is very clear to dissenters and critics: you can't hide. We can get to you, or at least those that are close to you, no matter where you are.

        • Re:A better question (Score:5, Interesting)

          by thule (9041) on Friday January 26, 2007 @10:09PM (#17779664) Homepage
          Why multiple exposures? Why so sloppy? Why use so much? They could have used a *much*, *much*, *much* smaller amount and still have made the same statement. Why was there so much of the stuff all around, but only a small amount (by a large measure) made it into the target of the assassination? It just doesn't add up. It seems like these guys were up to something else.
          • by Agripa (139780)
            Why multiple exposures? Why so sloppy? Why use so much? They could have used a *much*, *much*, *much* smaller amount and still have made the same statement. Why was there so much of the stuff all around, but only a small amount (by a large measure) made it into the target of the assassination? It just doesn't add up. It seems like these guys were up to something else.

            If some organization has been using Polonium routinely for untraceable executions this could simply have been the first time a mistake was mad
            • If some organization has been using Polonium routinely for untraceable executions, then the UK had better start keeping better stats on its cancer and immune-disorder cases. That organization seems out to get the UK for harboring expatriate Russkis...
  • by 91degrees (207121) on Friday January 26, 2007 @08:15PM (#17778618) Journal
    I suspect the Russian government knows full well that the British Government can't hand over Boris Berezovsky. That's why they're likely to make the request. It's not, on the face of it, unreasonable. Just legally impossible. But Britain's "refusal" to hand him over will mean that Russia has a better bargaining position. They can push Britain into offering an alternative of greater value.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Antiwar has an interesting article [antiwar.com] about the case:

      Berezovsky, who employed Litvinenko while he was alive and is using him in death as the symbol of Putin's malignity, is the key figure in all this: the man slain Forbes journalist Paul Klebnikov called Russia's "godfather." The real Mafia could learn a thing or two from Berezovsky, who, Klebnikov averred, assassinated his business rivals - one with an obscure nerve toxin - while the authorities stood by and let it happen on account of the oligarch's connecti

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ParraCida (1018494)
      No way in hell is the UK going to give something to Russia in this particular case. I mean, just imagine the situation if the UK now pulls of some sort of exchange with Russia for this guy: he's going to continue denying that he did it, even if found guilty Russia will deny all allegations and accuse the brittish government for orchestrating these false charges, they get to have Litvinenko dead AND they get something else in return for someone they don't really care about anyway.

      Fact of the matter is, Ru
  • by Dunbal (464142) on Friday January 26, 2007 @08:24PM (#17778728)
    You arrest me, and I will irradiate you all! Muhahahaha... enjoy your sushi, judge!(disappears in a cloud of green phosphorescent smoke)

  • Litvinenko's Book (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday January 26, 2007 @11:11PM (#17780056) Homepage Journal
    As detailed in Litvinenko's book (with Yuri Felshtinsky) published right after he was poisoned to death _Blowing Up Russia [google.com]_, Russia's KGB (by whatever new name disguises it) has been working against the conversion to democracy, especially since KGB exec Putin replaced Yeltsin the drunken reformer. According to Litvinenko before he died (reported in the book), he was being chased and then killed for reporting on the faked 1999 "apartment bombings" in Moscow and elsewhere in Russia which the KGB staged to get Yeltsin to invade Chechnya on the pretext of "Islamic terrorism". The book is banned (and was confiscated) in Russia.

    "Think. It ain't illegal yet." - George Clinton with Funkadelic
  • Real people; Real cases; Judge Judy.

    80-year-old Elizabeth Windsor is suing 41-year-old Andrei Lugovoi for pain and suffering caused by the death of her dependent, Alexander Litvinenko. Andrei says: Elizabeth doesn't know what she's talking about.

  • by Thumper_SVX (239525) on Saturday January 27, 2007 @11:25AM (#17783222) Homepage
    First, a disclaimer. This is an opinion. Don't read it as gospel, but instead try to research a little and come to your own conclusions.

    Sorry, I just don't buy it. I've read about the death of Litvinenko, and I've done a little homework into this guy's history that seems interesting. I'm not going to delve too deeply in the details, but it seems to me that it's quite probable that this whole thing was a publicity stunt.

    Yeah, a guy's dead. But this guy has a history of being violently opposed to the current Russian administration. His history shows him trying a number of times to discredit and/or destroy the Putin-controlled government. He was involved with a number of groups with the same goal, particularly in London.

    Now, honestly if you were a member of the Russian government who wanted rid of a thorny problem, how would you do it? Kill the guy with a bullet through the head, or use a traceable, unusual and likely highly public method of killing someone? It seems to me that the FSB would have been quite capable of putting a bullet in Litvinenko's brain pan at any time and suddenly this thorny problem goes away. Besides, it seems from my reading that Litvinenko was no more or less of a problem to the Russian government than most of his other brothers in his societies and groups in England. To say that Litvinenko was such a problem to the government that they'd want to kill him at all is I think inflating his importance.

    Now, if you as a group wanted to make a statement that would have worldwide coverage regarding the inhumanity of Putin's government, how better to do it than to have one of your own lay down his/her life in a particularly odd and highly newsworthy fashion? And if you can show that your martyr has been moving around because his movements are particularly traceable then you've just scored extra bonus points.

    Litvinenko's death was painful, slow and highly newsworthy. The BBC was all over it... I know. I live in the US but I still enjoy the BBC podcasts every day on my way to work... it was all over the BBC world service for weeks. It seems awfully convenient that a guy who has been extremely vocal in his opposition to Putin's government would meet an end that so amply demonstrates precisely the message he and his colleagues were trying to convey (if it's true, of course). The media coverage also somewhat reeked of an orchestrated media blitz, it was just too perfect.

    Now, as for where they got the polonium-210... well, after the fall of the Soviet Union much of the nuclear material that had existed within the country's borders was probably sold off around the world in order to support the orphaned communities who suddenly had very few ways of supporting themselves. It's not such a stretch to think that a sufficiently organized group with enough funding could find a sufficient quantity of polonium-210 on the black market to take the life of one of their own in a massive political statement.

    Now, I'm still a little on the fence on this one. I'd say 60% chance that the above is what happened, but I still maintain a 40% possibility that what the media told us about the FSB poisoning Litvinenko was true. Perhaps it was to make a statement to all of those colleagues of Litvinenko that they need to quiet down... but it seems to me that a handful of bullets and a few key members of the groups getting lynched would be cheaper, quicker, cleaner and send the same message effectively. The whole polonium poisoning thing just seems overkill for a government, but seems like a perfect way for a radical group to send a message. It's just a more sophisticated suicide bomber.

    As I stated above, this is an opinion. Don't take it as gospel.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (8) I'm on the committee and I *still* don't know what the hell #pragma is for.

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