Dec 06 2006

Lugovoi Was Trailing Polonium-210

It seems Andrei Lugovoi was trailing Polonium-210 now that contamination has been found in the British Embassy in Moscow where he gave a televised statement a few days back. It would also seem to be confirmed that the airlines with the Polonium-210 were one where Lugovoi left Moscow to come to London and one where he returned from London (supposedly his return flight on November 3). There was also the Arsenal stadium where he watched a soccer game. The only question now is who contaminated who, when. Did Litvinenko contaminate Lugovoi in the afternoon of Nov 1 when he met him at the Millenium Hotel (explaining the Millenium, Arsenal Stadium, one plane and British Embassy sites). Or did Lugovoi bring something into the UK which contaminated him and Litvinenko the morning of Nov 1 at a yet unknown meeting before Litvinenko met Scaramella? Some updates to this in a little bit.

Update: OK, those promised updates. This article and this article both claim the planes Lugovoi flew on leaving and returning to Moscow were the contaminated planes. Which flight of the three he made entering the UK is of importance. I have seen reports it was the Oct 25th flight associated with the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel – but I am not sure.

In another tweak to the timeline it this report claims that Litvinenko left the meeting with Scaramella, when to see Berezovsky and then went from there to meet Lugovoi before they left for the game. If I am correct and there was another meeting with Lugovoi prior to Scaramella’s meeting, at which point in time the large contamination at the Millenium Hotel occured, then the timeline makes sense.

Sticking with my smuggling ring theme, the deadly spill happened in the morning as Lugovoi and others made a second transfer of Polonium (the first being on Oct 25th which contaminated the Sheraton Park Lane). Litvinenko has no idea he has poisoned himself (or fears it and is not sure what he can do about it) and goes to meet Scaramella. The Scaramella news further spooks Litvinenko (or he starts getting really worried about the accident earlier) and he rushes to Berezovsky’s office and then to tell Lugovoi. He also decides to drop by his friend who works for a security firm nearby. The next morning he knows he is in trouble and calls Lugovoi. By November 3rd he is being taken to the hospital where they hide the Putin angle (and the Lugovoi angle) until it is clear he has no hope of recovery, and they set the stage for the media diversion.

And now this is considered a murder investigation. Am I buying someone shelled out $50 million in Polonium contraband and risked smuggling it into the UK to knock of a 3rd rate pain in the neck? Nope. But I do understand the PR value behind such a statement, as well as the legal benefits.

47 responses so far

47 Responses to “Lugovoi Was Trailing Polonium-210”

  1. clarice says:

    Yes, Maripose..HEH And then it ends:
    “But the Moscow meeting of London police with Andrey Lugovoy will hardly take place. Lugovoy, his wife and three children are in the hospital now, Lugovoy’s lawyer Andrey Romashov said. They are checked up for traces of poisoning by polonium-210. For the Lugovoys, this hospitalization is the repeated one. They signed out of the hospital past Friday and were “absolutely clean,” Lugovoy said.

    But there is a former intelligence office that is much more eager to talk to the London police. It is Mikhail Trepashkin, a lawyer and a jailed officer of FSB, who is serving a four-year sentence for divulging state secrets. But there is no hope that Scotland Yard will be allowed to talk to the convict”

    If this were an unauthorized smuggling operation, why let Lugovoy evade interrogation and shut up Trepashkin who wants to talk?

  2. crosspatch says:

    How long has Trepashkin been in prison? I doubt he knows much if anything about this specific case though he might have some pretty wild accusations to sling around. Unless people in prison for treason are allowed telephones and email, I doubt he has had much contact with anyone who would be involved in this.

    Okay, he was jailed in May of 2004, about 2.5 years ago. I doubt he has much that pertains to this particular case and the documents he had smuggled out are probably already in the hands of Scotland Yard.

  3. clarice says:

    He was imprisoned for revealing the FSB’s skullduggery in the Moscow apt bombings. He was the one who reportedly was the source of the warning to Scaramella.

    In any event, in any real investigation, if someone took such a risk to his life to get info out, and the govt which held him mizzled him and moved to put him in a maximum security facility, any reasonable person would think that govt was trying to hide something.

    Let the Brits interview him and determine whether the info he provides is relevant.

  4. crosspatch says:

    Let the Times interview him.

  5. Barbara says:

    You don’t suppose that Litvinenko tested the polonium on his tongue like drug dealers do to verify the product and this is how he was poisoned. He would have to be crazy. But then again he could have got it on his hands when the container was opened and licked his fingers when he read his newspaper. Maybe Lugovoi was contaminated at the same time just didn’t get any in his face. Just on his clothes. He might have wiped his face and thought he got it all but didn’t.

    Or maybe it was in powder form and when the container was opened dust flew out into his face and all over Lugovoi. Would the age of the polonium make it react to opening the container differently? This could account for Scaramella getting his dose if they hugged and Scaramella kissed Litvinenko’s cheek the way Europeans do.

  6. crosspatch says:

    Scaramella has apparently been released from the hospital and is showing no ill effects. Makes me wonder. If he got what was supposed to be a 5x fatal dose. The biological half-life of polonium is about 40 days so at this point, half the polonium ingested by Scaramella would be eliminated provided he had no additional exposure after November 1. If he had been exposed after, he could have actually had a much lower dose that doctors thought he had (because instead of eliminating the material for nearly a month, it was still at a high concentration from a fresh contamination).

    The mathematical model describing the behavior of polonium (Po) in the body discussed in Publication 67 of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) assumes a single biological half-time of 50 days for all tissues and ages. Furthermore, the model assumes that Po removed from a tissue does not enter another tissue. The physical half-life of d 210Po is 138.38 d and thus the effective half-time reflecting both the biological removal and loss by radioactive decay is 36.7 d.

  7. AJStrata says:


    I was about to write a post on the half life implications. I am not so worried about the biological half life, but the weapon half life.

    Assuming this material was still potent (less than 4 weeks old) when it hit Litvinenko it is coming close to the end of its utility as a weapon component. I give it 1-2 months before it decays too far.

    What is your opinion on this?