Dec 05 2006

Litvinenko Update

Major Update: Breaking news: The Arsenal stadium has become an new contamination site:

Traces of polonium-210, the radioactive isotope that killed Alexander Litvinenko, have been found at Arsenal’s new stadium.

Scotland Yard has been searching for clues since the former Russian spy was poisoned and the stadium in Highbury, north London, was checked before the Premiership match against Spurs on Saturday but the game was given the go-ahead.

However, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) have confirmed Polonium has been detected at the ground.

HPA spokeswoman Katherine Lewis said: “Minute quantities were found at barely detectable levels at localised areas. There is no risk to public health.”

Localised areas! Note the plural. There were rumors that Lugovoi had asked Berezovsky for seats at his box and was denied. It will be very interesting to learn where this contamination was.

– end update

The news media seems all atwitter to learn Russia is a soveriegn nation and UK police cannot just walk in an arrest Russian citizens. The lack of thinking this kind of reporting exposes is stunning. Litvinenko and others have been wanted in Russia for years and hiding out in the UK – but now people are surprised Russian law is like UK Law? Laughable.

Some interesting notes from my catch up reading this PM. I found the fact a UK representative might have tripped up and leaked a detail on the Litvinenko contamination quite interesting:

The alleged radioactive poisoning of Russian security service defector Alexander Litvinenko, a British national, has strained tensions between London and Moscow. Before his death on November 23, the former agent accused the Kremlin and the president of ordering his murder, a charge that Moscow dismisses.

Speaking on the high-pitched media coverage of the poisoning case, Ambassador Tony Brenton said papers could write whatever they liked.

Brenton said it was premature to make guesses as to who may have put radioactive polonium-210 in Litvinenko’s food and who orchestrated the murder, before the outcome of the probe was known.

We know the autopsy was done on Friday and I am sure there are some preliminary results out now awaiting final confirmation on test results. But it would be interesting if Litvinenko’s poisoning was from oral ingestion. Then the question is did he contaminate his own food? I keep going back to the theory that there was a big spill of the Polonium 210 at the Millenium Hotel which contaminated Litvinenko, and then in a secondary fashion Scaramella. It is at this ‘spill’ that Litvinenko and Lugovoi would have been contaminated. From there we can envision many accidental ways to ingest the material.

push the Putin assassination theory into the dustbin:

Security experts say it is unlikely Putin was involved in Litvinenko’s killing, but they say it is possible it was the work of rogue elements in the security apparatus that Russia inherited from the Soviet KGB.

Some in the Kremlin believe Litvinenko’s death is being manipulated for political capital by Boris Berezovsky, a Russian millionaire and implacable Putin critic now living in London.

The thinking is the Putin theory is the least likely of many possibilities:

…Alexander Rahr, a leading Russia expert at the German Council on Foreign Relations, a Berlin-based think tank, Tuesday told United Press International via telephone from New York.

He added that there were three main theories of who was responsible for Litvinenko`s death, the first being that Putin wanted to silence one of his most outspoken critics; the second that conservative forces in Russia wanted to hurt Russia`s relations with the West so that Putin would be forced to call back elections and establish a dictatorial regime; the third being that Russian exile oligarchs wanted to destabilize the Kremlin in a way that would allow them to return back home and reclaim their lost wealth. That third theory would include in the range of suspects Boris Berezovsky, the exiled oligarch, in whose house police found traces of the radioactive isotope.

Of course there is also the smuggling angle. What I find interesting is the search of another set of hotels supposedly visited by Lugovoi. If we find a Polonium-210 trail every time Lugovoi visited London recently, and each trip includes contact with Litvinenko and/or Berezovsky, that would indeed be huge progress towards resolving this puzzle. Here is some information on Lugovoi’s recent London travels and meetings:

The three witnesses are businessman and former KGB and FSB colleague Andrei Lugovoi, and businessmen Dmitry Kovtun and Vyacheslav Sokolov, who spent several hours with Litvinenko in London’s Millennium Hotel on November 1.

Lugovoi seems like the most interesting witness.

In the last month before Litvinenko’s death, his former KGB and FSB colleague had met with the deceased four times in London.

It is not clear if this is four meetings across three trips (10/17, 10/25, 11/1) or four trips. We will have to wait and see if such a connection can be established.

But one thing is clear, the Litvinenko dosage was unbelievably expensive. We now have one hint at the price of ‘the bullet’ under the assassination theories:

According to information leaked from the post-mortem examination, Litvinenko died from a dose that could cost 30 million euros. This seems a bit too rich for a murder.

Actually it seems ridiculously rich for a murder, especially of a marginal character like Litvinenko. And here is something that would point to a dirty bomb plot (which is a variant of the smuggling theory)

About two years ago, Berezovsky told the world that Chechen separatists had acquired a portable nuclear bomb and lacked only one minor detail. That “minor detail” could be polonium-210, which can be used to detonate a dirty nuclear bomb, experts say.

Frighteningly interesting, to say the least.

49 responses so far

49 Responses to “Litvinenko Update”

  1. Lizarde1 says:

    once again you are on top of this and organizing us – thanks AJ – and we still haven’t gotten the results of the Parkes Hotel and and that other office building….the other day they led us to believe the stadium was clear. In addition I read (as usual lost the source) that the Sushi bar contamination was said to be ON THE TABLECLOTH.

  2. jerry says:

    The Po fell off the documents, onto the tablecloth and his food, when he pulled them out of the envelope – in my entirely imaginary scenario. I still think the contamination at the Millennium is minor, though of high specific activity.

  3. Lizarde1 says:

    IF the documents were manufactured at Boris’ office earlier and xeroxed there earlier and this whole exchange of documents thing was made up by L. and Scaramella then of course the PO could have been on the documents first otherwise it doesn’t make sense that it was the documents that were the culprit here.

  4. Ken says:

    Russia aligns with Iran and China against US/UK/Israel/
    bloc’s wishes. Anyone doubt there’d be trouble?

  5. Lizarde1 says:

    All we really know is that Scarmella and Lutvienko had lunch at the shushi bar – we have no PROOF that documents changed hands, that this was even an emergency meeting of any kind – we only have the participants word for it – Goldfarb, Scarmella, Lugovoi and the Z guy whose name I always forget. Why say this was a last minute meeting???? Who looks innocent because of that? And isn’t it convenient that these documents were involved at the Sushi bar….I’m beginning to wonder…do you realize how much time these people had to get their stories straight? Days and weeks that’s how long.

  6. topsecretk9@AJ says:

    AJ…I left a new “working theory” towards the bottom of your last thread….I would be interested in your opinion, because I think it might be plausible enough to answer to both sides of the speculation….

    In my new theory, I speculate that Litvinenko was maybe trying to “obtain” P.201 in order to expose Russian state sanctioned bad stuff dealing, with the idea that Lugovoi was actually helping Litvinenko by smuggling this to him (from Russia) for this purpose (to expose Russian nuc trading) — and in the process they accidently exposed themselves. AND since Scaramella’s purported history fits (investigating KGB – Nuc expert – investigating “black market”) he was aiding him….

    so where you write:

    Then the question is did he contaminate his own food? I keep going back to the theory that there was a big spill of the Polonium 210 at the Millenium Hotel which contaminated Litvinenko, and then in a secondary fashion Scaramella.

    Maybe he first expose himself with Lugovoi – and then “showed” Scaramella he had “it” (so to speak) thereby exposing Scaramella.

    Answers why Scaramella’s exposure is so high, but not as mush as Litvinenko.

    And why everyone involved would not be broadcasting this scheme.

  7. Lizarde1 says:

    TS – and you can fit my madeup documents theory and the not emergency meeting at the Sushi bar theory into your theory and it all still works!

  8. clarice says:

    (1) The level of Scaramella’s exposure is in dispute. He said he had a 5X fatal exposure but has no symptoms, only signs of some exposure.
    (2) Lugovoi was KGB, was arrested and imprisoned and, upon leaving, suddenly became a multi-millionaire. It is not unheard of for the Russians to “turn” people while in jail.

    I think the reports were consistent that Scaramella removed the docs from the envelope and showed them to Litvinenko as he was eating, that he had trouble reading them, ran over to Berezovsky’s office with them where B had them copied. I am certain British investigators (who found PO on the copying machine) got them from B.

  9. topsecretk9@AJ says:

    Here is “a” Dmitry Kovtun’s bio (scroll down)

    And “a” Vyacheslav Sokolov contact info for a shipping CO

    There is also a Vyacheslav “O” Sokolov

  10. crosspatch says:

    “Localised areas! Note the plural”

    If any of those areas are localized to urinals, then someone else is in deep kimchee.

  11. topsecretk9@AJ says:


    Yes, you can…and I have to believe that the people talking to the authorities are not publicly detailing what they know – by way of authorities request possibly too.

    IOW…if say Scaramella were aiding Litvinenko in exposing the Russian Gov’t on some level – this I have to believe would not something he would be want to broadcast at this point.

    Just the opposite for many reasons – personal safety and not to preserve an actual investigation.

  12. topsecretk9@AJ says:

    –and not to preserve an actual investigation.–

    YIKES – I meant –“and to preserve an actual investigation.”

  13. Enlightened says:

    Did Anyone read the post on AT about the “age” of the PO? Have they determined if it had some lead in it? Or was it pure? It makes a significant difference as to where and when it could have been obtained.

  14. crosspatch says:

    “Principal activity: quantum chemistry, theory of condensed state, oxygen-deficient centers, hydrogen bonds, refractive index gratings, photostructural processes in glasses, photoinduced phenomena, intrinsic and impurity defects.”

    Gee, some of those areas of research might reqiure a source of alpha particles.

  15. Lizarde1 says:

    Stating the obvious but to end the Sushi Bar poisoning story once and for all:
    Scarmella and Litvinenko met in the park before deciding to go to the Sushi bar and they went there because at the moment Litvinenko was hungry – this is the story line – this story line means that nobody could have known they were going to the Sushi Bar ahead of time unless they guessed lucky because they knew Litvinenko liked to go there per Lugovoi; Hence nothing could have been done deliberately by anybody other than S & L at the Sushi Bar since nobody knew they were going to be there and somebody would have seen something if a stranger came in and started sprinkling stuff around. (The idea that he was being tailed by tons of Russian secret operatives who then ran into the Sushi Bar and sprayed the place is ludicrous) Therefore we know for sure that L. was NOT poisoned at the Sushi bar on purpose by anybody so there is no murder there unless Scarmella did it.

  16. Lizarde1 says:

    Yikes and Sokolov was connected to a SHIPPING company as well – but I thought the third guy was named Sokolenko?

  17. topsecretk9@AJ says:

    –(2) Lugovoi was KGB, was arrested and imprisoned and, upon leaving, suddenly became a multi-millionaire. It is not unheard of for the Russians to “turn” people while in jail.–

    See…this is why I am leaning towards Lugovoi and Litvinenko working together to “expose” the Russian Gov’t (both have bitter feelings)

    IIRC Lugovoi also met with the British at Brit. Moscow Embassy, why?

    Also, on the point of Moscow limiting extraditions – wouldn’t that be a plausible way to get Lugovoi out of the country (under this aupice) and Moscow dening — keeping their traitor Lugovoi under their thumb? (again!)

    …Also Tuesday evening, Andrei Lugovoi, the former Federal Security Service (FSB) colleague-turned-businessman who met with Litvinenko the day he was presumably poisoned by radioactive polonium, said he was ready to speak to the British officials.

    ‘I intend fully to satisfy their interest and am waiting for an invitation,’ Lugovoi told the Itar-Tass news agency.
    He added that he had until recently been in a Moscow hospital to undergo tests for possible exposure to polonium. Lugovoi has said doctors have found traces of the metal in his system…

    Separately, Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika said the country’s constitution forbids the extradition of citizens. Moscow can hold its own trials for citizens suspected of committing a crime abroad, but not send citizens to that country for trial, Chaika said in remarks run by Itar-Tass.

    He also said Russian investigators would question any suspects, and that their British counterparts would be allowed to listen.

    Yeah, I bet he’d like to talk to the Brits., alone…I bet he’d like the Brits to get him OUT of Russia, ASAP.

  18. Enlightened says:

    Capt Ed reporting that MI5 and MI6 are convinced the FSB was behind this? Implication being that it was indeed a assasination, due to the only sources that could obtain the PO in the stage it was in – was Russian government.

  19. Lizarde1 says:

    MI5 and MI6 seem to lack imagination – they should be reading here.