Dec 01 2006

Scaramella Is Contaminated

Update: The news about Scaramella has caused the UK’s anti-terrorism committee, COBRA, to go into session again this morning. This news really does muddy the waters. And I am still waiting to here how Berezovsky’s offices became contaminated and when. – end update

This news is also quite important to the timeline of events:

An Italian security expert who met with a former Russian spy on the day he fell fatally ill has also tested positive for the radioactive substance, British media reported Friday.

Mario Scaramella has tested positive for a significant amount of polonium-210, which also was found in the body of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, according to Sky Television and the British Broadcasting Corp.

Again we have to understand what was the method of contamination. Was Polonium dust on Litvinenko which then contaminated Scaramella? Or was it bodily fluids? Or was it from the source itself? What is interesting is Scaramella seems to be whethering the contamination physically, which means his dose was much less than Litvinenko’s. The mystery just deepened. More here:

Mario Scaramella, the Italian academic who met the poisoned ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko on the day he fell ill, has tested positive for polonium 210.

“Significant” amounts of the rare radioactive element have been detected in his urine, it was disclosed today.

Mr Scaramella, who met Mr Litvinenko at the Itsu sushi bar in Piccadilly, returned to London from Italy to undergo medical checks and to assist the police investigation.

He insisted earlier in the week that he was clean of all radiation, and that he was neither “under investigation or a suspect” in the case.

Sadly for Scaramella he is now a model for the process of how Polonium-210 moves through the human body. Initial dose levels are important, but it would seem Scaramella’s only indication was in urine and it took time for the material to make its way into the urine. Since there are no known examples of Polonium-210 poisoning of this kind every person infected represents how the body reacts.

15 responses so far

15 Responses to “Scaramella Is Contaminated”

  1. Lizarde1 says:

    And so it goes….wonder the condition of Lugovoy and friends now and they are in Moscow so we may not find out so much about them.

  2. Lizarde1 says:

    just for the record – I think I read that Scaramella did not eat anything at the restaurant though that doesn’t rule out that he got some on his hands and ingested it anyway – but if there is significant amounts in his urine that means I think that he could still die since it takes a while to break down the bone marrow etc

  3. Sue says:

    The FSB (f/k/a KGB) must be out of practice.

    The senior government source, who is aware of the discussions of the Cabinet’s emergency committee, Cobra, said the picture of the killers that was emerging was closer to bungling assassins than cool James Bond-type killers.

  4. AJStrata says:


    The more this looks like a bungled assassination the more it looks like a bungled black market activity.

    Lizarde, Yes, the reporting was Scaramella did not eat at the Sushi Bar. That was Litvinenko! Also, they met in the basement of the Sushi restaurant if I recall correctly (why there?). So was that the drop site and they both inhaled the material? Was there Polonium dust in the air? Who picked the meeting site? Lots and lotsof questions now that we have only the second ingest of the poison.

  5. Lizarde1 says:

    Interesting too that days ago Scarmella high tailed it back to Britain and went into an “undisclosed location” suggesting perhaps that he did have symptons…the whole time line of Scarmella’s knowledge of his condition is also up in the air IMO. Were planes to Italy from Britain checked? I forget…wonder if he left traces on a plane = that would tell us more about how it was passed – was it on his clothes/shoes?

  6. Lizarde1 says:

    AJS I still have the theory that the envelope or something was in his pocket and he put his hand in there to get his money to pay at the Sushi bar and the stuff moved from there – kind of like the anthrax envelopes that leaked….just a thought

  7. Sue says:

    The more this looks like a bungled assassination the more it looks like a bungled black market activity.

    I don’t know, AJ. They (FSB) could be just as bumbling as our own CIA seems to be instead of the James Bondish image that Hollywood portrayed.

    I’m still on the fence. I am willing to believe whichever storyline is proven correct. Official Russian assassination, rogue elements (that ought to make your hair stand up) in Russian, or accidental poisoning. All are plausible.

  8. jerry says:

    Now that Scaramella is known to be contaminated I’ll indulge myself and go back to my original theory as a working hypothesis to beat up on, that the documents were contaminated — that Scaramella either knew this or Po210 was put into an envelope the documents were in without his knowledge. Maybe someone showed Scaramella the documents, then put them into a dosed envelope for him to bring to Sasha, then Sasha contaminates himself and his food when he takes the documents out at the restaurant.

    I’ll also consider AJs idea as I’m getting intrigued. If Sasha’s soup was poisoned it’s hard to see Scaramella being seriously contaminated. A handshake with Sasha when he was freshly contaminated (from the documents in my theory or from the sample he was carrying in AJs) might do it I guess. As they were alone in the basement of the sushi bar and Sasha picked his own sushi from a “cold chest” (I’m thinking there was a refrigerated buffet) I can’t see Epstein’s idea of someone sprinkling the food, unless all the food was sprinkled and then cleaned up by an agent seeming to work at the restaurant.

  9. clarice says:

    If Scaramella was poisoned at the sushi restaurant, why the spill in the hotel room?

  10. AJStrata says:

    Clarice, Simple. It all goes back to whether the material was a particulate on the clothes or fluids from the body. Particulates will leave a nice strong signature (remember this stuff only requires miniscule amounts to poison – thousands of a gram). Bodily fluids like sweat and saliva will not leave a strong signature (urine will since it seems to be the flushing path from the body).

    If there was a large pool of particulate material on Litvinenko (either as a accidental dust or he was carrying the material in a leaky container) then the Scaramella and Litvinenko could have inhaled the material.

    That same ‘dust’ or ‘container’ could have been taken to the Millenium Hotel where the contamination was passed from Litvinenko to Lugovoi.

    I keep seeing this leaky container as what did the contamination AND the poisoning of Litvinenko and Scaramella. BTW, a ‘pill’ would have included some kind of gel-cap cover so as to cover up the Polonium-210’s radiation signature, if this was an assassination by ‘pill’. The radiation cannot escape skin or paper. So to have the ‘spill’ in the room as described means spilling particles or particles from the clothes were dropped on the floor with the clothes.

    There is now nearly no reason to assume the contamination was from poisoned body. It seems to be the actual Polonium on something or leaking from something. That would exclude the assassination theory.

  11. clarice says:

    Why would it EXCLUDE an assassination theory?

    As I read the Telegraph story the stuff on the hotel floor was a big spill, not a “shed”. If it occurred before they met with Litvinenko, it may have been a “bungle” but we don’t know there wasn’t enough left to poison him.

    I saw a Russian report of an interview with L , the Russian Litvinenko met with but as far as I can tell the Brits have not been able to locate him.

    What if there were two teams (just brainstorming here). One team brought out the polonium to show how porous the Russian oversight process was and how the blackmarket was working..and the other was thugs involved in the trade who wanted to silence Scaramella and Litvinenko who knew.

  12. jerry says:

    “If Scaramella was poisoned at the sushi restaurant, why the spill in the hotel room? ”

    Assuming the reporting about the highly concentrated spill at the hotel is accurate (!) we don’t yet know who’s room it was. If it was someone Sasha knew, then maybe he visited there before going for sushi and was poisoned – either through playing around with polonium pills or by having his tea poisoned.

    If it was a more peripheral assassin that person was playing around with a polonium pill before going to the sushi bar to poison Sasha, or by my twisted logic meeting Scaramella and dosing the documents before he met Sasha (seems less likely). BTW, if the documents were poisoned they both could have inhaled Po210, that might be something for doctors to look for.

    Scaramella most probably was poisoned just through a handshake with Sasha at the sushi restaurant but that was a significantly more highly dosed handshake than with the people Sasha later met (maybe he washed his hands).

    This could conceivably have resulted either from poisoned sushi (need more info about the restaurant investigation) or Sasha playing around with a polonium pill (need more info about his location on Nov 1 and whose room it was) or Sasha drinking some poison tea (need more info about whose room it was, how it’s contaminated, and about Sasha’s location during that day).

  13. clarice says:

    IIRC the Telegraph story indicated Litvinenko never was in that hotel room. He’s been invited up but declined and met with these guys in the bar. (Now, don’t tell me they don’t serve liquor early in the morning so that story is false.) I’ve spent a lot of time in European hotels and it is not unusual for them to serve coffee, tea etc there before the bar is open to serve liquor.

  14. clarice says:

    I think the difference between the affect of the polonium on Scaramella and Litvenenko may be that Litvenenko was administered the posion in ingestible form–i.e. tea or soup–and Scaramella may just have ingested smaller amounts from particulate. From the Salon article, I get the notion that polonium is heavy and it is hard to ingest much from particulates in the sinks too fast.

  15. Spy-Games: Plot Thickens as Radiation Poisoning Spreads…

    This is simply getting messier and messier every day (almost by the hour)…and now almost seems like a Keystone Kops version of James Bond. Timeline: Former Russian spy caseNovember 28: It emerges Italian academic Mario Scaramella, who met Mr Litvinen…