30 November 2006

The Fourth Protocol

Dear readers,

This story is getting murkier every day. When I began mentionning it, I thought it was just another spicy piece of news. But I had no idea of the political involvments. And then, as anglo-saxons say, "shit has hit the fan"...

First, there was the death of an ex-spy, believed to be poisonned with thallium. It was already "nice" enough, but in a way relatively trivial. The two prime suspects being the head of the Russian state and its exiled and rich rival, there was not much left to our imagination, except the sordid details. But all this changed this week-end with a couple of revelations. First, the poison was not thallium but radioactive 210Polonium, a component usually found inside nuclear bombs and with very little civilian use. Worse, traces of this metal were also found on people who had visited the spy, as well as in the places they had been. This is not very surprising, but it is certainly frightening. Even better, I had mention Scaramella, an Italian involved in this strange case. Apparently, and according to La Reppublica, Scaramella had been asked two years ago by a friend of then Prime Minister Berlusconi to contact Livtinenko to try and prove that Romano Prodi, his left wing rival, had KGB contacts. And this is where things get even nicer. According to UKIP uncovered blog, Scaramella was also a friend of London UKIP member, Gerrard Batten. This looks more and more like a huge political manipulation, at European scale.

All this is now reminding me of a pretty good book (which was also made a movie, as well as an antique video game): The Fourth Protocol. In this novel, it was the detection of polonium by a British agent which was leading to the uncovering of a plot by rogue KGB agents to blow a nuclear bomb on Western territory, by smuggling its components in from the East. We are getting all the elements of such a story here, and I wouldn't be surprised if someone else wouldn't mention the legendary Fourth Protocol. For the reader's info, such a treaty (preventing any nuclear power to smuggle a bomb on any other power's territory) is in fact a legend, inspired from the 1968 UN treaty on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons... At least, none of the four countries supposed to have signed this protocol ever admitted it.

But let's face it, it is unlikely that anyone without extremely solid connections in a major nuclear power government has get its hands on any significant quantity of this polonium isotope... And if it is the case, it is a serious casus belli. As simple as this.

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