Nov 27 2006

The Polonium Trail – With Updates

Major Update: The Times has a great graphic up with a map and timeline of contamination. Note that Litvinenko buys a newspaper in the morning – that site has been searched and no contamination. Note that Litvenenko visits the Security company after talking to the Russians about a business deal. Litvenenko was a security consultant and I would bet he was going to discuss the opportunity with a company with which he was associated.

These contacts were late in the day and would tend to remove the Russians and the security company from consideration. That leaves sometime after the newspaper purchase as the time for the initial contamination.

One other note: the newspaper was purchased at noon but the meeting with Scaramella is at 3:00PM – leaving a huge window open. Let’s assume Litvinenko spends an hour at lunch to meet with Scaramella. That leaves only 30 minutes to get to the Hotel meeting. I seriously doubt Litvinenko went to Berezovsky’s office between the Sushi Bar and the Hotel meeting. Which puts the contamination at Berezovsky’s office possibly prior to the Sushi Bar – and that would make it the first site of Polonium-210 contamination! There is a more detailed map here to understand the distances involved and how out of the way the Down Street offices were to the other sites.

Update: More details on the investigation at Berezovsky’s offices – seems the police have the place under complete lock down:

Detectives have found traces of polonium 210 at the London offices of the exiled Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, it was revealed last night. Officers were searching 7 Down Street, Mayfair, after the discovery of the radioactive substance that killed Mr Berezovsky’s friend and former employee, Alexander Litvinenko.

A uniformed officer and at least one plain clothes policeman were stationed inside the lobby of the property last night. Outside another 15 officers were on standby in two marked police vans and the area was cordoned off.

That is a lot of firepower at the site. 19 armed officers just on guard duty? Note that the other locations of contamination do not seem to have this level of police presence. Correction: most of the sites are now cordoned off. The other office building is not even shut down. The hospital and the Sushi bar seemed to be cordoned off because of high levels of contamination. Which makes the presence at Berezovsky’s office even more intriguing. Berezovsky spokesman Alex Goldfarb confirmed to the BBC that the offices in question where Berezovky’s principle office location,

Update: As I suspected the trail of Polonium led right to Berezovsky’s office – which has now been cordoned off.

The offices of an exiled billionaire were sealed off tonight as police investigating the death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko found traces of a deadly radioactive substance.

Evidence of polonium 210 were found in the London office of his friend, the tycoon Boris Berezovsky.

If I recall, Berezovsky and Litvinenko never mentioned contacting each other in early news reports – more on that in a bit. And don’t forget it was Berezovsky who brought in his PR firm to spin this story towards Putin and away from him and Litvinenko. Note that this earlier story makes no mention of a Litvinenko-Berezovsky meeting that fateful day. More here on Berezovsky’s PR role over the dying Litvinenko. I wonder of Litvinenko made a deal to gain lifetime support for his wife and child in trade for his deathbed accusation against Putin?

Update: More on those additional sites for the Polonium-210 contamination. And as I predicted one location leads right to Berezovsky:

The other location reportedly houses an office of Boris Berezovsky, the self-exiled tycoon and Kremlin critic wanted in Russia on money-laundering charges. Businesses listed at the address include a fund adviser, an investment firm, an energy company and offices of the newspaper publisher Metro International.

Berezovsky, who knew Litvinenko before both came to Britain, told The Associated Press on Monday he would make no comment until the investigation was over. He reportedly paid for Litvinenko’s house in North London.

What we need know is the order of visits to ascertain the sequence. If the contamination begins in the Sushi Bar, then did Italian consultant Scaramella give Litvinenko something contaminated? Or did the contamination begin ith the ex-KGB agents Litvinenko met at the Mayfair hotel bar? Or did it start at Berezovsky’s office. It would seem to me that somehow a transport container lost its containment which is why the Polonium trail exists. I doubt Litvinenko meant to kill himself, but we could have the transport of a black market item which leaked and ended up getting in Litvinenko by some act as simple as licking ones fingers.

Update: One new location of the Polonium-210 was an office complex in the Mayfair district near the hotel Litvinenko met two ex-KGB agents after his meeting at the Sushi Bar. It should be noted Boris Berezvosky has an apartment in the Mayfair area, and is into commercial real estate. I would not be surprised if the office site of the new contamination is linked to Berezovsky. – end update

Polonium 210 is highly radioactive, but with a quick half life (138 days). It loses half its radiative punch in 138 days. In 272 days it is a quarter as potent as its initial levels. It is an alpha emitter which creates low power radiation (which can be blocked by skin alone in some cases). It is a very toxic substance up close, which is why it needs to be ingested somehow to do the damage it did on Alexander Litvinenko (note: I am transitioning to the more popular spelling of his name). This is important to note because the Polonium trail is getting larger and larger – which indicates the Polonium was not just internal to Litvinenko’s body but travelled on the outside or on his clothes (or on something else).

Radiological testing has been ordered for three people who may have come into contact with the poison that killed a former KGB agent turned Kremlin critic, health officials said Monday, as the government opened a formal inquest into his death.

Traces of radiation were found at two restaurants and the home of the ex-spy, Alexander Litvinenko. Health officials, however, said there was no immediate public health danger.

If the Polonium was inside Litvinenko it is unlikely the contamination would be spread like this. The skin that acts as a barrier to the radiation coming into the body will perform the same function on the radiation leaving the body. The only way for a trail to exist at all is if the Polonium was external to Litvinenko’s body or was seeping from his body (though it took days to show up in his urine).

So what was the agent that left the trail? That is key to the mystery. If the Polonium is found in an acid solution (the only way to disolve Polonium, make it difficult to use as a poison) then the murder-suicide theories will have some support. But we should be clear that Polonium was obviously on the exterior of something that was walked around with Litvinenko. Was it him or his clothes? Was it in a disolved form or some other form that would not fit the murder-suicide theory? The trail makes the poisoning theory actually weaker, unless he took the food with him or was an incredibly messy eater.

Update: The trail of Polonium continues to grow to more locations. Was Litvinenko at all these locations?

Previous posts on this subject:

How To Kill A Spy
Litvenenko’s Death Staged As A Political Murder?
How To Play The Media
Litvenenko, Berezovsky & WMDs
Chechen’s Salute Fallen Comrade, Litvenenko
Italian Contact Of Litvinenko Has Nuclear Ties
Chechen’s Used Nuclear Dirty Bomb In 1995

22 responses so far

22 Responses to “The Polonium Trail – With Updates”

  1. AJStrata says:


    The people seem to be customers at the Sushi Bar or the Hotel bar- but no firm reporting.

  2. elendil says:

    Yeah, that was my question: shouldn’t Scaramella (sp?) be contaminated, too? If other people in the restaurant–which seems to be the first site that was contaminated–got it, he should have at least some trace on him, right? Is he just hanging out at an espresso bar in Rome? If I were he, I’d have checked into a hospital ASAP. Isn’t he worried?