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Politically at least the “Cold War” has been over for some time but every so often a news story comes to prominence that holds reminders of just how clandestine it really was. London streets may look reasonably safe to the average British citizen on his way to work or going to the shops but things may not always be, as they seem.

As one time Russian agent, Alexander Litvinenko kept an appointment with a contact known as Mario Scaramella in a sushi bar in Piccadilly Circus in London on November 1st ‘his motives were to assist in the identification of a short list of possible culprits that took part in the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, a journalist in Moscow working for Novaya Gazeta. She was shot in her apartment building in Moscow just over a month before the alleged attempt on Litvinenko in an incident that bore more resemblance to a military style execution than it did to any criminal activity. Both Litvinenko and Politkovskaya had been outspoken critics of Vladimir Putin during his handling of the problems in Chechnya province of the southern Russian satellite state. Apart from the domestic violence in the province, the most notorious being the siege in Beslan where more than 300 children lost their lives during the rescue attempts the Russian state also held the Chechen rebels responsible for several attacks on apartment blocks in Moscow.
Mario was an international peddler of information to the highest bidder with very strong links to the Russian FSS/FSB [Federal Security Service] the present form of what was once the KGB and GRU. He had brought with him a document of several pages, which he insisted had to be read there and then because it contained information so sensitive that he could not risk it being copied or its content becoming widely known.
They ordered a meal but Litvinenko maintained that whilst he ate his meal Mario did not touch his. Two hours later Litvinenko was beginning to feel very ill and was later taken to hospital suffering all of the classic symptoms of thallium poisoning. Thallium is an odourless tasteless heavy metal found in the Earth’s crust wherever tin, lead, copper or zinc can be found though it is not mined commercially because extraction of the metal from the ore is prohibitively expensive. When used as a poison the metal is scraped with a knife to produce a fine powder, which is then dissolved into a liquid for optimum performance. In this case the “liquid” is thought to have been a cup of coffee. The symptoms are, hair loss, peripheral nerve damage, involuntary muscle spasms and uncommon sensations on the soles of the feet, de-hydration by diarrhoea and vomiting may also be evident. The antidote is a chemical, which has many names, ferric hexacyanoferrate; iron hexacyanoferrate; iron ferrocyanide or ferric ferrocyanide, but it is more commonly known by the name used on the artist’s palette, “Prussian Blue”[or PB]. The Victim in this case is thought to have a 50-50 chance of surviving its rigours. It is beyond belief that this incident could ever be considered accidental. The venue chosen for the meeting has the “Hint” of planning in that one of the more innocent ways that thallium poisoning can occur is by the consumption of uncooked shell fish that are known to accumulate thallium as filter feeders on the sea bed. Thallium does not act instantly and once the draft had been administered there would have been several hours in which the perpetrator could have made their escape.

Certain questions however have to be asked. Was this a deliberate attempt to silence the criticism Litvinenko has for the past six years pointed in the direction of Vladimir Putin? Did the KGB [now called FSS/FSB] hang around a certain sushi bar in the hope that their victim would show up? Unlikely.  So, were the kitchen staff paid in roubles? Again, unlikely. Ok, Was it a suicide attempt by the victim? Don’t think so. If the victim did not see anyone put anything in his coffee and the only other participant to the meal at the restaurant was also unaware of its added content where did it come from? It is not exactly common on a pharmacist’s shelf these days so who would have such a radioactive carcinogen readily available in such a quantity concealed about their person. The answer may seem obvious, Mario had snow on his boots and the thallium was supplied by the KGB and delivered by their own “Hit man”. But why is the victim protecting him? Why did the metropolitan police let Mario walk? And where is he now? Probably reading tonight’s edition of RIA Novosti in a Café` in downtown Moscow.
In its basest form this was the attempted murder of a naturalised British citizen on British soil and at the very least it should be determined where the thallium originated because although it was once commonly used in rat poisons in the UK it was considered far to dangerous here but it is still used to control vermin in the far east, it is still used in industrial processes in the UK and it its still used as a coating to improve clarity of photographic lenses here but not in the quantity that it was used in the attempt upon the life of the one time Lieutenant colonel of the KGB, Alexander Litvinenko. As his condition deteriorates his doctors seem unsure that the poison ingested was Thallium but if it was not it was something very similar and it seems far more rigourous. Toxicologists speculated that the ammount administered may be equal to three grams of Thallium based upon the rate of progression suffered by the victim.
[if it was Thallium one gram would be fatal]
Alexander Litvinenko defected to Britain in 2000 whilst he was a Lieutenant colonel with Russia’s FSB Security Service seeking asylum and claiming to be in fear of his life. He was, even then an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin. A search of premises owned by Litvinenko uncovered illegal arms and explosives and charges of treason against the Russian State were levelled against him. He was tried and sentenced in “Absentia” for the crime but maintains that he was framed by elements of a directorate within the FSS for refusing to carry out orders, which he considered illegal.
He has claimed that the attacks upon apartment blocks in Moscow did not originate in Chechnya but in the sub directorate of the FSB/ FSS with direct involvement of the former GRU though this has been vehemently denied but perhaps the most unbelievable claim made by the ex Russian operative involved an incident that brought tears to the eyes of most of the world as they watched it unfold on television.

He claimed that the Beslan siege was an operation sanctioned by the FSS in Moscow and the blood of its victims stains the walls of the Kremlin. This too has been denied but if there is no substance to the claim why is Anna Politkovskaya dead, why was the alleged perpetrator of the Beslan siege shot out of hand by ex KGB operatives three months ago and why is Alexander Litvinenko now in hospital? If there were no truth to the allegations surely a trial of all three accusers would have demonstrated the invalidity of the claims to the world far more clearly. Or could it be that there was a “Renegade” operation to discredit the Chechen rebels by certain organs of the Russian State and the subsequent “Eliminations” are damage limitation before the Russian people find out what was done in their name for they hold children in a reverence far above that known in the west.

In considering the possible involvement of the FSS/FSB directorate [formerly KGB] it should be borne in mind that Vladimir Putin was once it’s director and his term of office in 1998/1999 covered the period immediately prior to the defection of Alexander Litvinenko to the west in 2000 Nikolai Plantonovich Patrushev [previously Putin’s deputy] was installed immediately after Putin’s tenure in a Presidential Decree by Boris Yeltsin. Patrushev is still the head of the FSB [Federanaya Sluzhba Berzopanosti] the longevity of his term of office is legendary in Moscow, a clear indication that he still holds the confidence of Vladimir Putin.

The attempt upon the life of Alexander Litvinenko brings to mind previous events and when adopting the premise “That it is fanciful and could not happen here” we should consider that in 1978 Georgi Markov a Bulgarian exile working for the BBC world service was killed upon the streets of London with a device concealed inside an umbrella that delivered a tiny pellet with perforations loaded with Ricin into his spinal column. It was thought at the time that the Bulgarian secret service with KGB sanction was involved but the result was the same, a suspected involvement of a foreign security service “Hit man” on the streets of London. No culprit was ever charged with the murder.

In November 2004 an election in the Ukraine did not yield the candidate of the peoples choice Viktor Yushchenko but that of the Moscow supported favourite Viktor Yanukovych.
Amid the outcry of electoral fraud the Supreme Court overturned the result and ordered fresh elections, the peoples choice Viktor Yuschenko was mysteriously poisoned with Cesium-137 or as we know it “Thallium”. FSS involvement was suspected but not proved.

The use of thallium [Cesium-137] is not the sole province of the KGB. In the late 1950’s/early 1960’s the use of thallium was considered by another equally powerful
Secret service, The CIA. They formulated two plans to administer thallium to Fidel Castro but with the failure of the “Bay of Pigs” invasion and the Cuban missile crisis the plans were “Shelved” in the settlement between the USA and the USSR.

Thallium or Caesium 137 has not always been the instrument of retribution of governmental secret services. Since its almost simultaneous discovery in the 1861 by Sir William Crookes and in 1862 by Claude Auguste-Lamy it has been used to poison many times by those wishing to hasten the demise of an ailing relative, which is why thallium along with Arsenic became known as the “Inheritance powders”. Thallium is derived from the Greek and means “A green shoot or twig” but like the Arsenic wallpapers and paints of the late 1800 it has the ability to kill, the accepted lethal dose is one gram per cubic metre in 24 hours or just a cup of coffee with the right ingredient. Dosvidaniya  [or until we meet again]


Postscript:November 24th 2006.It was reported today that Alexander Litvinenko seccumbed to the poison ingested and died. He left a written statement accusing Vladimir Putin and the Russian State of being instumental in his demise,the statement was read by a close freind.X-rays revealed three "Foreign bodies" in his lower intestine, one of which was as large as a two pence piece,it seems unlikely that the medium used to administer the poison was a cup of coffee and more likely that it was something that might be swallowed whole.....perhaps an oyster which,it might be argued could have picked up such an object on the sea bed naturally. The victim was not convinced and the Metroplitan police may well share his doubt but proving it will be another matter.

Posted: November 21, 2006 ,   Modified: November 24, 2006

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