Jan 29 2007

Lugovoi Contaminated In London – Not Moscow

Those of us following the Litvinenko incident and the Po-210 trail have said from day one the trail is the story and it must all fit together. We know the first sign of Po-210 is around Oct 16-18th of last year when Lugovoi and Kovtun came to London, stayed at the Parkes Hotel in Knightsbridge. They met with Litvinenko (for Lugovoi this was one of what is believed to be 16 meetings last year with Litvinenko) and visited security companies with ties to Litvinenko, one with ties to another Russian Oligarch who headed the now defunct Yukos Oil giant. Po-210 was found in multiple hotel rooms, and at the Itsu restaurant where the three ate.

The second path of Po-210 centers around Lugovoi’s next trip to London around Oct 15-28. This time the hotel is the Sheraton Parkes hotel and multiple rooms showed signs of Po-210. The multiple rooms is key because it looks like the Po-210 was dispersed or collected. Kovtun was not at this meeting. He was in Moscow. The day Lugovoi left London (10/28) Kovtun left Moscow for Hamburg. No word on whether their paths crossed in Moscow. Then a few days later on Oct 31st Lugovoi returns from Moscow, and the next day Kovtun flies into London from Hamburg with our mystery man.

I rehash all this to make it clear any resolution of this mystery must address these elements of the Po-210 trail. But what I have been trying to confirm is the direction of contamination on the one plane which was flying between Moscow and London – and now we have it:

It was initially thought Litvinenko, 43, had been poisoned during a meeting with his Italian contact, Mario Scaramella. The Itsu Sushi bar did show traces of polonium 210, but not where the two men sat.

He had met Lugovoi in October at the sushi bar, where it is believed poisoning was first attempted.

Hotel rooms Lugovoi occupied in London were contaminated with polonium 210; traces were also found at the Arsenal stadium where he had watched a match the day Litvinenko was poisoned and on the plane Lugovoi boarded for a flight to Moscow.

I would like to know if that was the November 2nd flight back. If it was that is important. But what this tells us is Lugovoi and Kovtun where in proximity to Litvinenko, possibly when he was poisoned. Kovtun had the Po-210 on him coming into the country November 1st after he traipsed across Hamburg leaving deposits. Someone had a major spill in their room at the Millenium when they stayed there. Berezovsky’s office was contaminated that day, as was one of those interesting UK security firms. But Lugovoi only shows traces departing England, not coming in.

All reporting I have seen today states the tea pot was full when the poison was administered, and the cup of tea was poured from it and Litvinenko had some (maybe an ounce, maybe 2-3 ounces). The chemistry still must line up (this is like gravity – you cannot pretend it doesn’t exist). The liquid does not change its form from pot to cup to Litvinenko so the dosages must be identical (with the possible exception of solid material on the bottom of the pot – but not likely). Right now the tea pot looks way too hot, as does the cup, to have held the small amounts found in Litvinenko. But without specific levels it is impossible to tell.

Other interesting tidbits today Litvinenko’s mother was worried about “Sasha”. but she does confirm my suspicions Litvinenko might go along with the Putin charade for the sake of his family:

“I begged him to stop many times because I thought that nothing good would come out of it. I told him: you can drive, why don’t you get yourself a job as a taxi driver? But he felt it was his duty to carry on and often told me that wealthy Russian friends in London would take care of his family if something happened to him.”

And they are indeed doing that. Not bad for the adopted son of the Chechnyan rebels. Another interesting tidbit is news that Litvinenko’s co-author was warned by the FBI not to go to London due to security concerns.

The co-author of the tome, Yuri Felshtinsky, is currently refusing to travel to London to fulfil any publicity commitments for the book. Felshtinsky, who is based in the United States, has apparently been advised by the FBI not to travel since they believe he still wouldn’t be safe in the capital.

Now why would it not be safe for him in London? Supposedly the Po-210 assassination ring is hold up in Moscow. And with all the press any attack now by Putin’s agents would be a PR disaster. I would think the man is completely safe in London – unless there is danger from another quarter.

25 responses so far

25 Responses to “Lugovoi Contaminated In London – Not Moscow”

  1. per says:

    Hi AJ
    it’s been fascinating to follow your logic, and insights into chemistry and physics.

    I am just wondering if you could please share with me whence you came by this insight ?

    Can you tell me if you have an undergraduate, or postgraduate research, degree, and what it is in ?

    Have you ever worked with radioisotopes ? If so, how much, which isotope and how regularly ?

    It is not often I get to speak to an expert in chemistry, physics, forensics and international nuclear weapons smuggling, so I am looking forward to a very impressive resume.


  2. AJStrata says:


    You can ask…..

    But I see no reason to provide that to you!

    Nice try kid. What is your background – nag?

  3. per says:

    Well, AJ
    I suspect you have a great deal to be modest about.

    For myself, I have an undergraduate degree in biochemistry, and a postgrad research degree in a related area. I have handled radioisotopes for over two decades, though rarely more than a millicurie at a time. I have been responsible for all aspects of radioisotope use and safety in a University Department.

    However, it has been profoundly rewarding to learn about whole new realms of physical and chemical knowledge from yourself. Stuff that I would never have imagined…

  4. AJStrata says:

    Well thank you Per. I am looking forward to learning a lot from you. I have not ‘handled’ radioisotopes since my blo0d testing lab days when we used markers to determine heart risks.

    My expertise is mostly in space systems and I work on a variety of NASA projects to help desing end-to-end communication, command and control systems. But the science has always attracted me the most. Took one course of graduate level Bio-chem, only to find it was the same book I used in HS advanced biology. My version of a good semester was 2-3 lab courses with 15 solid hours of science. Physics, chemistry, biology, never could get enough of them. Took nuclear physics one semester for fun and an elective.

    But I will remember to note your deeper expierence from here on out.

    Cheers, AJStrata

  5. Snapple says:


    My site is http://www.legendofpineridge.blogspot.com

    I don’t have comments now, but please visit. I have written about this polonium topic.

    I have done a little bit of newspaper-type research on nuclear trafficking for an expert on smuggling many years ago, but I am not an expert.

    The smugglers were always people you never heard of–not famous ex-KGB agents who wrote books critical of their government and who had risked their lives by volunteering their services to Western intelligence agencies.

    I do have a degree in Soviet/Russian studies, and this looks like a KGB hit team that were bunglers. And they murdered people who were cooperating with Western intelligence agencies.

  6. reliapundit says:

    aj – i luvya yer beyootifull, but your insistence on denyin g that lugovoy and kovtun were pro-russian/putin is like the lefties who still believe in socialism and the truthers who think 9/11 was an inside job.

    please: i have asked this sevral times of you and all others who think that there was more to this than assassination:

    why would lugovoy and kovtun go back to moscow for “treatment”: unless he/they was/were pro-putin and could expect the putinists (other fsb/kgb’ers) to protect him/treat him!?!?!

    inquiring minds want to know.

    all the other technical stuff is beside the point. imho.

    please respond.

    with all due respect, please respond.

  7. reliapundit says:

    i will be glad post your response – or lack of one, (and refusal to post my repeated question on my blog) and forward it to other bloggers who have posted on this issue.

  8. reliapundit says:

    here’s my point:

    the only logical explanation for the FACT that loguvoy and kovtun returned to moscow for treatment/protection is that they are pro-putin/pro-fsb.

    the technical stuff – how many times litvin enbko was exposed and how – matters not.

    if kovtun and lugovoy were in on an “operation” (smuggling or bomb-building) with litvinenko – an OPPONENT of putin, then they would NOT have returned.

    i have asked this of you several times and never gotten a response.

    you insistence that this was not an assassination but part of some larger scheme is beginning to see to me be just like the truthers insistence that 9/11 was an inside job.

    i have the utmost respect for your views on other matters and ask this with all due respect.

    please respond.

  9. AJStrata says:


    Funny you should use that analogy. Litvinenko and Berezovsky ARE the leftwing nuts claiming Putin bombed Russian apartment buildings so he could attack them. Even though Chechens took credit (like Bin Laden) they say it was all made up so Putin could grab power. They are identical to the nuts over here who claim the WTC was dropped by explosives planted ahead of time.

    It is why I don’t trust them. Funny you do.

  10. AJStrata says:

    Sorry Reliapundit,

    I don’t have time to read every comment and this is the first time I have seen your question. How is it Lugovoi and Kovtun were able to return to Russia? I answered that already- they have a plea agreement to turn in their co-conspirators (sp?). My guess is they had no idea what they were shipping, just providing secure passage for packages unknown. Lugovoi, Kovtun have one thing in common, they work for the same kind of security firms as the UK ones showing P0-210. If you recall it took many days before access was given to the UK authorities. It was the establishment of plea arrangements. Lugovoi has been quite clear he cannot discuss stuff and has put the media on notice key upcoming dates were things would be happening.

    Now answer this – why would Putin care what Litvinenko said – he was a blabbering idiot? There was nothing to gain by killing him. Absolutely nothing.

  11. Ermit says:

    I wonder why Felshtinsky paid any attention to the FBI warning. He is a free US citizen. It is not the FBI business to dictate him where he goes

  12. per says:

    “How is it Lugovoi and Kovtun were able to return to Russia? I answered that already- they have a plea agreement to turn in their co-conspirators (sp?). “

    let me just check your logic here, AJ. L&K are involved in this multimillion dollar smuggling ring, where they have managed to procure $25 million dollars of Po-210 from a (russian) reactor, presumably to sell abroad. Russian government just says- “no problem, you guys, tell us who you were working with, and we’ ll let you off free on a “plea bargain””.

    Just checking, but you’re not a policeman or lawyer, are you ?

    Either they were smuggling vast amounts of Po for nuclear weapons (your theory), and they are going to jail in russia forever, or your theory about smuggling Po is so much speculation.


  13. reliapundit says:

    thanks for the reply AJ!

    i think you are picking your spots with k&l.

    whereas i trust NOTHING they say, (nor what is said about them by you or anyone else); their movements tell the whole story as far as i am concerned. and now their lack of movement – they’re staying oput in safe moscow.

    if they were rogues, then they’d have been dealt with VERY harshly by putin – who throws BILLIONAIRES into gulags. if they were good sports who got in trouble inncoently by becoming involved with berezovsky then he would have helped them as he APPARENTLY helped scaramella.

    as far the the ruskie-truther angle: it was litvnenko who spread the story about the bombings; it is reasonable to infer from k&l’s return TO moscow that (1) they worked for putin and were double agents who had infiltrated litvinenko’s/berezovky’s lair – and that probably “agreeing” with the bombing story helped them to gain access/credibility with litvinenko.

    these “plea agreements/arrangements” you assert they have might as well be figments of your imagination. the fact of the matter is that they are being sheltered. period.

    i still admire your GREAT blogging but still feel you have gotten yourself out on a very long and tenuous limb with this theory of yours. COMEBACK!

    all the best.

  14. Snapple says:

    Regarding the bombing of Russian apartment buildings.

    I read on RFERL that some KGB guys were arrested by ordinary policement setting a bomb in an apartment building. The KGB guys said they were just “doing drills.”

    There is a lot of reason to believe that these apartment bombing were provocations that were blamed on the Chechens and used to justify a crackdown in Chechnya.

    You can’t compare this to the belief that Bush did the WTC.

    The Russian “government” is run by criminals; the US government isn’t.

  15. Gotta Know says:

    “why would lugovoy and kovtun go back to moscow for “treatment”: unless he/they was/were pro-putin and could expect the putinists (other fsb/kgb’ers) to protect him/treat him!?!?!”

    Why would they NOT go back to Moscow? They were smugglers, remember? They had already made several trips. They had reason (cover) to keep going back and forth to London. They had lives in Russia. Why would they have thought it necessary to flee?

    We have already agreed–everyone, no matter what the theory–that the job was “botched.” I say “botched” in quotes because the problem was their collective ignorance. They thought the PO could be easily managed safely due to alpha rather than gamma radiation. There is no other way to explain the way the material was handled.

    And now, back in Russia, three weeks later, they find that Litvinenko’s illness was caused by PO, and that the trail leads to them. They are in Russia, and they have been exposed. What do you expect them to do? Do you think they would just decide to up and move to London where they would be arrested for murder? What country do you think would take them? Do you think Russia would let them out?

    I don’t think this is a mystery at all. In fact it perfectly fits the facts.

  16. per says:

    “They are in Russia, and they have been exposed… Do you think they would just decide to up and move to London where they would be arrested for murder? “
    well, gotta know, I am just working through the logic of your argument.

    1) let’s imagine they deliberately murdered Litvinenko with Po-210. The facts are very clear, and support this- as you say. Why on earth would Russia wish to harbor two killers who also smuggle terrorist quantities of radioisotope across Russia’s borders ?

    2) let’s imagine that they were- as your suggestion- smuggling Po-210 to make nuclear bombs. In this case, they have killed Litvinenko accidentally (reckless homicide or manslaughter), and it is also the case that they are trying to make nuclear bombs for someone other than mother Russia. Why on earth would Russia wish to harbor two killers who are also nuclear bomb terrorists ?

    Now there is one other possibility. This is that they were acting directly under the orders of the state, in a state-directed assassination. That explains the ease with which they got hold of Po-210. That explains why they are currently larger than life in Moscow, and why Russia welcomes them back.


  17. Gotta Know says:


    They didn’t have to travel to Russia, they were IN Russia. Russia couldn’t contemplate taking them back, they WERE back. It’s not a matter of harboring anyone. Both men are Russian citizens.

    Russia would want to “harbor” them if they cooperated with the nuclear smuggling investigation. That is AJ’s whole thesis. So it appears you would agree with AJ.

    No one is suggesting these two are the ringleaders. It is far more likely that they were the “mules” working for Berezovsky.

    And no one is suggesting anyone killed Litvinenko accidently, although it is entirely possible. We are saying he died by accident. Whether through his own actions, or by the actions of others.

  18. per says:

    “Russia would want to “harbor” them if they cooperated with the nuclear smuggling investigation.”
    let me just be clear about what you are suggesting; what you are suggesting is that the russian authorities know they are dealing with illegal nuclear bomb traffickers, yet L&K merely chat with the authorities, and they get let off scot-free ?

    Given the incontrovertible evidence that they have, I think the russian authorities could bring charges of treason, and/ or terrorism, and threaten them with hundreds of years in jail. That would induce co-operation, and L&K would go to jail forever as well.

    The reason that the Russian government don’t investigate, is because this is deliberate and state-sponsored murder.

    It is worth noting that your suggestion of a Po-210 smuggling operation to make nuclear bombs, is a suggestion with no evidence to support it. Indeed, “fantasy” might be a better description. AJ’s track record in nuclear physics and international arms smuggling would be more persuasive if he didn’t get his knowledge from fruitcake web sites.

    I am fascinated by your theory that Litvinenko died by his own actions. Please tell me more. How did that work ? While you are at it, tell me how Litvinenko synthesised his own curie of Po-210 in the afternoon of November 1st ?


  19. BarbaraS says:

    I am fascinated by your theory that Litvinenko died by his own actions. Please tell me more. How did that work ? While you are at it, tell me how Litvinenko synthesised his own curie of Po-210 in the afternoon of November 1st ?


    What you don’t understand is that no one on this site is obligated to tell you anything. As AJ said you are late to the fair and need to read prior posts to get to where we are. We have gone over the news as it came out and you are way behind.

  20. Gotta Know says:


    –As “per” your last post, congratulations, you have grasped a “plea bargain.” That’s great!!!

    –Who said anything whatsoever about “incontrovertible?”

    –If you are going to jail forever, would you cooperate with anyone? Or would you cooperate more to stay OUT of jail?

    If you were Putin and you sent two thugs to murder someone out of the country, would you let them go free, with the whole world watching, or would you at least go through the motions of a trial?

    As for the smuggling, there is plenty of circumstantial evidence to support that scenario. If you want a smoking gun you’ll have to shoot it yourself.