BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL WEAPONS
27, 2006: The recent death, in Britain, of KGB defector Alexander Litvinenko,
via polonium 210 poisoning, was a rare use of a highly radioactive substance to
assassinate someone. Polonium 210 can only be produced by a nuclear reactor,
using special laboratory procedures. Russia has the nuclear facilities and labs
to do it. Russia also has a history of using exotic poisons to assassinate
individuals, outside the country, who are acting contrary to Russian interests.
far, traces of radiation have been found at Litvinenkos home, two hotel
rooms, a hotel bar where he met someone, before going to a restaurant where he
ate on November 1st,. Police technicians are checking other locations of
evidence of polonium 210 being present. Polonium 210 is only deadly if it gets
inside you. In the past, the KGB has developed ingenious devices for getting
exotic poisons into victims. Polonium 210 kills by emitting alpha particles,
which cause damage to living tissues. So when it gets inside you, it spreads,
destroying organs as it does so. A gram (there are 28.5 grams to the ounce) of
polonium 210 would be enough to kill someone. If sprayed onto food or drink as
a mist, it would not be noticed. A small, specially designed, container could
safely hold the polonium 210, and deliver it to the substance to be ingested.
While this is the sort of thing you'd only expect to see in a James Bond movie,
keep in mind that the James Bond flicks are based, albeit loosely, on actual
espionage operations. The CIA, MI-6 and KGB all have their "Q" characters, who
develop special tools and weapons. Many of those devices are never
declassified. A gadget that could carry and deliver a fatal dose of polonium
210 would certainly be one item you would never let the public get a look at.