Friday, November 24, 2006

Poison: the choice of emperors

The body of Alexander Litvinenko, the dead Putin critic, was found to have unexplained high levels of deadly radioactive Polonium-210. Poison was the tradition means for solving political disputes in the Roman, Chinese, and Mongol empires. The USSR took this to new levels of sophistication when the KGB poisoned Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov by stabbing him with a ricin-tipped umbrella in 1978.

UPDATE: After Putin's denial, James Taranto has an interesting theory: Maybe the intention was to poison Litvinenko with a very slight dose of Po-210, just enough to give him terminal cancer that would appear natural.

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