Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Yushchenko dioxin timing issue

The Yushchenko dioxin timing issue (or here; my emphasis):

"One senior law enforcement official said that after doctors found dioxin in Yushchenko's blood, the candidate met informally Thursday with a newly assigned prosecutor and pledged to cooperate, but only after the election on Dec. 26.

Without the cooperation, the case has taken the form of theories, and for the news media the most popular has been the dinner at the dacha. But as details and a greater understanding emerge, this version remains open to question.

First, Smeshko said, Yushchenko was ill and in pain before the meeting, and had postponed the dacha visit a day because of exhaustion and a backache. Zhvaniya confirmed this, but said Yushchenko has a history of back troubles, and his pain the previous night might not have been related to poison.

A second, more intriguing, complication is that toxicologists say that after a person is contaminated with dioxins, it typically takes three days to two weeks before symptoms appear. Yushchenko was racked with pain hours after the dacha dinner, which understandably cast initial suspicion on the meal.

But the theory was weakened this month when doctors in Vienna announced that the poison was dioxin; his would be the only known case of a dioxin acting so fast.

Dr. Arnold Schecter, a specialist in dioxin contamination at the University of Texas, said it was possible but highly unlikely that Yushchenko was poisoned on Sept. 5. 'It doesn't make sense, medically,' he said. 'I would go back 14 days before that.'"

Once you get away from poisoning at the meal with the Security Service of Ukraine, Yushchenko could have been poisoned by anybody, including members of the rather questionable group who surround him. He may not have been poisoned at all.