Apr 05 2007

Some News On Litvinenko Front

At the end of a fairly successful and grueling business trip I thought I would pass on some interesting details I have seen on the Litvinenko case. Tidbits are all we seem to get these days – a crumb here or there in a news story. But the crumbs either support or conflict with the presumed theories out there, and so we have had some really interesting ones pop up in reporting recently. First is a glimpse at the level of cantamination by Polinium-210 experienced by Lugovoi and Kovtun, to give some relative perspective on their dosage compared to Litvinenko, Marina (one of the highest doses recorded who did not require hospitalization) and Scaramella (remember him – the original target of the Berezovsky media machine). Here is some evidence of the dosage level on the two Russians based on their hospital stays (noting Kovtun did lose his hair and Scaramella and Marina did not):

Mr Lugovoi said he was in hospital for three weeks and Mr Kovtun for more than a month but they declined to comment on what doctors had discovered.

That clearly puts Kovtun as the second most contaminated and Lugovoi as the third most contaminated – behind only Litvinenko who died from his exposure. My opinion still is this near brush with death is what has made these two witnesses align against those smuggling the Po-210. Berezovsky and Goldfarb initially were very vague and refused to use Lugovoi’s and Kovtun’s names when they pointed their fingers towards Putin. But that may have been a simple gamble that these two would not survive their expsure. If all three – Litvinenko, Kovtun and Lugovoi – were all exposed in a room at the Millenium hotel (which are still closed down) at the same time then Berezovsky might have been playing a waiting game to see if the too would die as Litvinenko did. When they did not die, and when they started cooperating, then the name “Lugovoi” began to be use by Goldfarb and Berezovsky to link to Putin. Coincidence?

And the hotel room and certain offices are among the last few sites still closed due to Po-210 – which clearly indicates either their level of contamination was very high or their value to any prosecution case is high. Either way, there is a new interesting wrinkle:

Tests for radiation were carried out at all three hotels, and a further 11 sites.

At the Millennium Hotel, the Pine Bar and several guest bedrooms remain shut while remediation work continues to seal or remove contaminated material.

However, it is understood that by the end of the month all except two sites where work has taken place, will be open.

Only Mr Litvinenko’s London home, and offices in Grosvenor Street will remain shut, largely due to difficulties in tracing the property owners who live abroad.

We will know soon enough where the worst contamination is – it will be those two sites which remain closed down. My bet is one or more rooms in the Millenium hotel associated with the Russians will be one of these sites still off limits. I still maintain the room with the Polonium ‘spill’ on the fourth floor will end up being the hotest of all sites contamination – and that is where the three Russians (Litvinenko included) were poisoned. What is not known is what will come in second! Is it the Pine Bar – where crockery contaminated by Po-210 was run through the dishwasher but infected guests and staff to much lower, nearly safe levels? Or was it in rooms in the Sheraton or one of the other hotels – implying two or more shipments of Po-210 through London? Or was it those new, mysterious offices were Po-210 showed up but the owners are out of the UK? We knew about Berezovsky’s offices being contaminated, but this is new. We knew Erinys and RISC Management (once associated with Yukos – the oil giant run by Oligarchs like Berezovsky) were contaminated and visited by Litvinenko at a minimum. Erinys is run by an ex-British UK special forces officer if memory serves correctly, so it is not foreign owned. But we know RISC management is not necessarily owned by a UK entity or person.

It is interesting that some foreigned own offices stand out as still contaminate or closed. The route of smuggled Po-210 has always been an interesting quesion in this case – whether it is a question of where it came from or where it might be going. Foreign ownership provides an interesting angle.

Finally we have reporting on an area of Russia rife with nuclear smuggling and two things to ponder:

According to IAEA, of the 481 occurrences of nuclear smuggling reported between May 2002 and early 2006, only the Dadayan incident involved weapons-grade nuclear material. The Khintsagov case now falls into that category. The international community clearly needs to adopt urgent measures to shore up its nonproliferation defenses in the region. Priorities include improving WMD detection capabilities, extending best practices into private industry, and strengthening the rule of law throughout Georgian territory.

The shear number of nuclear smuggling incidents is mind boggling. So let’s remember that the number of smuggling cases using nuclear materiall is nearly 500 times higher the number of suspected assassinations commited using nuclear materials. But what really caught my eye was something that might explain why the Litvinenko case went so quiet:

On January 25, 2007, a Georgian court sentenced a citizen of the Russian region of North Ossetia to eight years in prison for attempting to sell 100 grams of weapons-grade Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) for $1 million on the black market.

The Georgian authorities have offered different reasons why they delayed providing details about the case until now. Some Georgian officials said they needed time to investigate the incident thoroughly. At least one Georgian legislator said the United States had requested a temporary media blackout.

No doubt the US is involved, especially since I understand the US is the number one importer of Po-210 produced by Russia. And if Russian reports that the Po-210 did not disappear on their watch, there is a good chance it disappeared on our watch. And of course, if Po-210 was being smuggled for terrorist reasons and not assassination the US would be on this issue. So are things quiet because the US wants things quiet?

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Some News On Litvinenko Front”

  1. Carol_Herman says:

    Po-210 is a stupid method of removal, it you ask me.

    And, so far, you’re only assuming you know Litvinenko died of an overdose of Po-210. And, not something a hospital worker came around to “stick into his body.”

    Litvinenko spoke Russian. Did he forbid all Russians from showing up at his bedside? They make the best nurses.

    And, some Russians, happy to get out of Russia; to land elsewhere, might opt for a British passport. Using their nursing credential as bait.

    You just can’t account for all the hospital activities.

    You can’t even account for Litvinenko’s missing hair. Did he lose it all at once, in his own bathtub, at home? Did some fall out on his pillow, while he was hospitalized?

    Would the russians have been interested in obtaining samples?

    And, how come the I.mam, in the mosque, forbid the casket a chance to become part of the departed’s funeral ceremony? What did the I.man see that made him so paranoid? Just dead bodies, alone, wouldn’t account for that misfit of information.

    But? If Berezovksy, in business with smugglers, had managed to smuggle some of his hidden contraband into a mosque, here, or there, would that have produced what you saw with your eyes?

    It was a closed coffin.

    In our day and age, where all sorts of photographs appear in the tabloids, Goldfarb wasn’t that good! He couldn’t have kept the photo out, unless one was never taken. (Small cameras, hidden easily, by coroner workers, could’a done the deed. Including, where’s the toe-tag picture? That one didn’t show up, either.)

    As if all during the time Litvinenko was hospitalized no one on staff had a clue.

    Okay. One clue: Litvinenko got so desperate, that he TALKED. He told his care-givers about nuclear poisoning. He even took a shot of thalium; hoping to indicate “something.” Including, by the way, that he was being killed with a Red Herring.

    As if the russians don’t know how to toss dead weight out a window!

    More lies don’t make up for what’s not told. Still.

  2. Litvinenko links…

    Just a few interesting links related to Alexander Litvinenko that I’ve read this morning:

    The Strata-Sphere attempts to work out who (besides Litvinenko) received the largest doses of Polonium-210, and writes about the 11 sites in London that ar…

  3. turboruss says:


    By former BBC Moscow correspondent
    Martin Sixsmith
    Published by Macmillan on 13th April 2007. Price: Hardback £16.99