Nov 27 2006

UK’s COBRA An Ominous Sign

More confirmation continues to be reported that the Polonium trail leads to Berezosky’s office are being reported in the Financial Times.

Traces of the radioactive substance believed to have killed a former Russian spy in London last week have been found in an office belonging to Boris Berezovsky, the former oligarch, and several other locations in the capital, it emerged on Monday.

Police investigating the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko are understood to have detected the substance in Mr Berezovksy’s office in Down Street, Mayfair.

A spokesman for the multi-millionaire exile said Mr Litvinenko had visited Mr Berezovsky’s office within hours of a lunch on November 1 when he is thought to have ingested a deadly dose of Polonium 210.

According to The Times the police are attempting to retrace Litvinenko’s steps that fateful day:

Scotland Yard detectives are following a radioactive trail left around London by Alexander Litvinenko in an attempt to discover where the former KGB spy was poisoned.

They are using his mobile phone records and CCTV cameras to plot his exact route as he met a number of wealthy Russians, business partners and nuclear experts on the day that he fell ill.

It appears that he left a trace of the radioactive isotope polonium-210 nearly everywhere he visited. The substance has been found at seven locations, including the two hospitals where he was treated. Police will check today other places he may have visited.

On his deathbed he was able to recount to detectives where he went and most of the places he stopped and who he met that day.

I find it interesting the Berezovsky’s spokesman (Alex Goldfarb) has just now come out with the news his boss had contact with Litvinenko (more here on Goldfarb and the closing of Berezovsky’s offices). This report notes that Litvinenko met with someone he knew on the 4th floor of Grosvenor 15:

Toxicologists were investigating last night a fourth-floor office and the inside of a lift at 25 Grosvenor Street.

The only company listed on the fourth floor is Erinys International, a security firm that provides bodyguards for oil installations and businessmen working in Iraq. It has an office in Moscow.

Last night a source at Erinys said that the Russian had visited the company to see a member of staff whom he knew personally. He did not work for the company and once staff heard what had happened to him they contacted Scotland Yard and invited them in.

If we connect that reporting with this story, we can assume Litvinenko went to the nearest place he thought he could get a xerox copy made of the information passed to him by Scaramella:

These are thought to include an office block where Mr Litvinenko photocopied a hitlist he got from Mario Scaramella, the Italian environmental professor with whom he had lunch at Itsu.

What caught my eye in all this reporting is the regular use of the COBRA committee, Britian’s anti-terrorism coordination body. I cannot find the story now, but I did read the last time the body saw this much activity was around the time the airplane bomb plot came to light this summer. That would tell me the UK is still worried this may be more than is being reported. There are a lot of anti-terrorism elements being used in this investigation.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “UK’s COBRA An Ominous Sign”

  1. Mike M. says:

    Uh Oh.

    I’ll admit that I’d heard of Polonium-210 before this whole fracas….as a neutron source in early atomic weapons.

    This is starting to worry me more and more.

  2. crosspatch says:


    If I were a terrorist and I had a weapon such as this where a very small amount could wipe out a city, how would I demonstrate the use of it?

    I would want a target that was accessable and would attract global attention. Suzie Homemaker would be accessable would would not attract much attention.

    What I believe the message is here isn’t that this guy was poisoned, it is that there may be much more of this poison “out there” and it could well be outside the control of a government.

    A lethal dose of this stuff is so small that it is invisible to the naked eye. A puff of it in particles as small as cigarette smoke could kill thousands. This stuff is more toxic than anthrax and several KILOGRAMS of it have been reported stolen at various times from Eastern Europe. Enough to kill the entire population of several major cities.

    I would be wanting to know EXACTLY where that stuff came from too.