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2006-12-19

Polonium, l'affaire du Litvinenko and its Londonesque implications

Charlie Stross, most excellent author of the unthinkable and unspeakable, has a weblog article deserving of your consideration. Here's a snippet:
The point is, someone with access to fresh Polonium 210 (read: less than a year old, hot from the reactor) decided to use it to bump off an enemy.

And the terrorism alert status hasn't risen a notch? Pull the other one.

Anyway, to the point: this wasn't simply an assassination. There are any number of poisons out there that would do the job painfully well but much more rapidly, and without the same scope for a diplomatic incident. Likewise, a bullet to the back of the head would have worked just as well (as witness the assassination of Anna Politkovskaya).

What this is, is a warning: "we have the capability to detonate a dirty bomb in central London any time we feel like it, so don't f*ck with us". (Just take Polonium and add a little TNT.) (Ed. note: Or, ANFO.)

Who the warning is from, and who the intended recipient is, are another question entirely. I don't think it's any accident that the COBRA committee was convened the day after Litvinenko's death (on a Saturday, no less). And I don't think it's any accident that the British press have been very carefully pretending the phrase "dirty bomb" is not part of their vocabulary for the past week.


Now, children, run along and go watch BBC's Dirty War. And think.

Then build one of these, else you will wish you had built one of those.

Merry nightmares to you all, and to all a good night.