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Litvinenko Update: Witness: poisoned spy contaminated earlier than believed

Moscow - A key witness in the radiation death of former Russian security agent Alexander Litvinenko claimed the poisoning took place earlier than is widely believed, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

Andrei Lugovoi, a security agent-turned-businessman who met with Mr. Litvinenko at a London hotel on Nov. 1, the day Mr. Litvinenko suspected he was poisoned, said in an interview with the Moskovsky Komsomolets tabloid that he and Mr. Litvinenko were poisoned on Oct. 16.

"Who told you that the contamination took place on Nov. 1? It took place much earlier, on Oct. 16," Mr. Lugovoi was quoted as saying by the paper. Mr. Lugovoi is himself undergoing radiation checks in a Moscow clinic.

Mr. Litvinenko, 43, a former Russian agent and a Kremlin critic, died Nov. 23 of poisoning from polonium-210.

Alarm Clock

Litvinenko Update: Four Germans Test Positive for Spy-Linked Radiation (Update1)

Four people in Germany may have ingested the radioactive substance that killed former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, German police said, as investigators probed the activities of one of his business associates in Hamburg.

The ex-wife and two children of Dmitry Kovtun, who is being investigated for suspected handling of polonium 210, likely had contact with the substance while Kovtun was in Hamburg in late October, police said at a briefing broadcast on the N24 television channel. A fourth person, Kovtun's ex-wife's partner, also tested positive.


Incoming Secretary of Defense: Israel has nuclear weapons

Incoming U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told a Senate committee on Thursday that Israel has nuclear weapons, and that this partially explains Iran's motiviation to acquire nuclear weapons.

"They are surrounded by powers with nuclear weapons - Pakistan to their east, the Russians to the north, the Israelis to the west and us in the Persian Gulf," he told the Senate committee during his confirmation hearing.

Comment: So let's deal with Israel's WMDs, because clearly the Zionists are extremist nutjobs who are threatening the stability of the entire world.


China nearing deal to develop huge Iran field

BEIJING: China's Sinopec Group is near to clinching one of its biggest overseas deals, to develop Iran's giant Yadavaran oilfield, a top Chinese industry official said yesterday.

Yadavaran, in southwest Iran, is expected to produce 300,000 bpd, about the same amount Iran now exports to China. Iran is China's third largest oil supplier after Saudi Arabia and Angola.


Update: US sailor spied for Israel

Summary: A US Navy sailor, Ariel J. Weinmann, is suspected of spying for Israel and has been held in prison for four months, according to an article published Monday in the Saudi daily Al-Watan. It reported that Weinmann is being held at a military base in Virginia on suspicion of espionage and desertion.

According to the navy, Weinmann was apprehended on March 26 "after it was learned that he had been listed as a deserter by his command." Though initial information released by the navy makes no mention of it, Al-Watan reported that he was returning from an undisclosed "foreign country." American sources close to the Defense Department told Al-Watan that Israel was the country in question.

Al-Watan speculated that if Weinmann spied on behalf of the Mossad, it would be the biggest espionage case since Jonathan Pollard's arrest. Pollard, who worked as a civilian intelligence analyst for the US Navy, was caught in 1985 and convicted of spying for Israel. He is currently serving a life sentence in the US.

Chart Pie

China's growing stake in Pakistan

Quetta, Pakistan - Under the free-trade agreement (FTA) signed last Friday between Pakistan and China, the two countries will implement the first phase of customs duty reduction from next July 1.

A five-year tariff deal is expected to provide a level playing field for Chinese firms investing in various sectors in Pakistan, and the two countries have agreed to increase bilateral trade to US$ 8 billion by 2008.

China has rapidly increased its stake in Pakistan in recent years, and the country's Indian Ocean port of Gwadar provides Beijing with a strategic base, allowing it to extend its sphere of influence to the Middle East and Central Asia.

Alarm Clock

Litvinenko Radiation found at UK security and risk management company

Traces of polonium-210 radiation have been found at two more central London addresses, police probing ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko's death say.

One address, in Down Street, reportedly houses the offices of his friend, exiled billionaire Boris Berezovsky.

The other location, in Grosvenor Street, is the headquarters of security and risk management company Erinys.

Alarm Clock

The British Public is Being Taken for a Ride

I hate seeing my country being taken for a sucker. But that, I fear, is exactly what it is being taken for with the unfortunate death of Alexander Litvinenko. As the case rolls on, and the media hysteria continues, more and more I feel what the situation is exposing is not the evilness of the Kremlin, but our own gullibility, the sloppiness of our media, the irresponsibility of our politicians, and the greed of our PR industry.

The British press has been amazingly one-sided in its coverage of the ex-spy's death.

I want to focus on one example. It's the cover story in this week's Spectator magazine. The cover had a caricature of president Putin and the headline 'The Long Arm of Putin'.

The story, written by Neil Barnett, doesn't even entertain any other theories than that the Kremlin is responsible for Litvinenko's poisoning. It is presented to the reader as an open-and-shut case.


Best of the Web: Syria Is A Convenient Fallguy

Commentators and columnists are agreed. Pierre Gemayel's assassination must have been the handiwork of Syria because his Christian Phalangists have been long-time allies of Israel and because, as industry minister, he was one of the leading figures in the Lebanese government's anti-Syria faction. President Bush thinks so too. Case, apparently, settled.

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SOTT Focus: SOTT Podcast: The Assassination of JFK

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Forty-three years ago, John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Although it was obviously the work of a powerful group, the blame was placed on patsy Lee Harvey Oswald. Independent researchers have proposed explanations that point the finger at the mob, the CIA and anti-Castro Cuban forces, and Lyndon Johnson and the oil magnates. Michael Collins Piper, author of Final Judgement, an investigation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, demonstrates that Mossad played an important role in the murder, as part of the master puppeteer pulling the strings and involving all of the groups mentioned above. Piper talk with Laura Knight-Jadczyk.

Running Time: 01:24:27

Download: MP3