Jul 19 2007

The UK, Berezovsky And Polonium 210

I have been debating this post for a day as the coincidences in news reporting regarding Berezovsky and Litvinenko and Lugovoi have just become too much to ignore. The B Movie nature of the latest events has had me wondering what in the world is going on with this case. First we had a barman give his scientific, forensic view of why he thought the radiation contamination at the Millennium Hotel, where Litvinenko met Lugovoi and Kovtun as they prepared to take their families to a soccer game, was a spray based Po-210 solution. I posted on the ridiculousness of this layman’s speculation regarding radiation contamination patterns and relative doses (like how a millionth of a gram could kill Litvinenko but it could not turn tea into sludge). It was completely implausible. But the UK authorities allowed this man to break his silence regarding the investigation to tell this silly story. Why? The story this barman creates is just not plausible – for the reasons I posted. Dosages don’t make sense, a pattern from a spray that large would have killed everyone within a few feet of the table, it looked like a radiation pattern from a point source, not a spray, etc.

It was a story for those with little to no scientific background to lap up. It was a bad TV plot. But what happened this week is even more incredible – as in “not credible”. I posted that Boris Berezovsky magically timed an announcement that a Russian assassin was sent to kill him so he fled Russia. It was magically timed with the expulsion of 4 Russian diplomats for not extraditing another supposed assassin – Lugovoi. I posted on this story too, noting that the timing of this event with the UK”s push on Russia was quite a coincidence. But I was willing to change my views on this entire matter if the UK could produce this assassin and show there were ties to Putin’s government.

To my shock the UK authorities have confirmed Berezovsky’s claims of an assassination attempt:

The British police said today that they arrested a man last month on suspicion of plotting to murder the Russian exile Boris A. Berezovsky, a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir V. Putin.

A police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the man, a Russian citizen, was arrested in London on June 21, and was handed over to the immigration service two days later without being charged. The man was then deported to Russia.

Whoa – hold the presses! Let me get this straight. The UK is looking to have a man extradited from Russia for the crime of murdering Litvinenko with Po-210, but when they CATCH another supposed Russian assassin in their country they just let him go? Why not use this assassin to gain more evidence against Russia and Lugovoi? Why not hold the man for attempted murder and force Russia’s hand with Lugovoi? Why let the man go? Sorry, but all this has just pegged my BS meter.

Let’s just pretend Russia was out to kill Berezovsky and look at why this all doesn’t make sense. At the height of tensions over Lugovoi and Litvinenko Russia sends a Russian citizen directly from Russia to kill Berezovsky? Why not pay a Georgian assassin? Why not a Muslim one? Assassins exist, why use such an easily traced killer? Also, Putin is riding high in Russia. His support is so high his successor is a shoe in for President. Why risk all that with this kind of lame stunt? And is it not strange the Russians have no knowledge of this deportation?

The Russian ambassador to Britain, Yury Fedotov, told the B.B.C. that Mr. Berezovsky’s claim that someone wanted to assassinate him was “quite strange information.” He added: “I have nothing that could confirm it.”

If this was a real assassination attempt why did the UK authorities not parade this man in front of the media so the Russians could not simply deny any knowledge of him?

No, Boris Berezovsky, in weaving this apparent fiction, gives us all the clues we need. He has openly called for the overthrow of Putin and he has said he has allies all through Russia ready to help him in his coup d’etat. And so it is no surprise his buddies in the FSB are part of this new daytime drama:

Mr. Berezovsky described the plot — outlined further to him by Russian friends “who are connected to the special services,” he said — as involving a lone gunman who planned to lure him to a meeting and shoot him. Then the gunman would turn himself in to the British authorities, serve a long sentence in Britain for murder and return to Russia to collect “a large reward and Hero of Russia medal,” Mr. Berezovsky said.

An assassin who turns himself in? Spends his prime years of life in prison and then goes home to get a medal? Oh pullleaase! Stop with this lame BS. It is this kind of insulting story line that has me conflicted as to what to post.

Because, in the end, this is a serious subject with deadly ramifications. On the one hand I can see what is going on – the masses are being fed a story to divert their attention. On the other hand we are dealing with (a) a very dangerous material that can kill thousands at a time and (b) the authorities are getting way too used to lying about things to cover up what must be some bad news. That latter item is a habit we cannot afford to get into in a free society. I understand secrecy around national security details, etc – I have dealt with that all my life. But we never lie about the purpose and roles of our efforts. And we don’t put out lame fiction.

Here is the problem with all this. Berezovsky and the UK authorities are clearly working together to spin all this. Problem is their scriptwriters are pathetic and they have not answered the lingering questions that still exist, even though a compliant media has decided to stop reporting them. Details like the three rounds of Po-210 smuggling and contamination in London that spread from Oct 14 – November 1. All current timelines begin in the Pine Bar now – not three weeks earlier when Litvinenko and Lugovoi met and Po-210 traces began showing up in multiple hotel rooms.

Gone are the details on how Litvinenko was exposed multiple times to Po-210, not just on November 1. Gone is the claim by Lugovoi that an item mailed to him by Litvinenko in the summer was found contaminated with Po-210. Given the differences in dates between summer and October it is conceivable different batches of Po-210 could be identified based on decay rates). That would make the smuggling effort span months, not weeks.

In fact, gone is the question of how investigators knew of Litvinenko’s multiple exposures – because unless the exposure was from two different batches of Po-210 with different decay histories it would be impossible to tell WHEN an incident occurred just by looking at the Po-210.

And there is the original conundrum. Why spend millions of dollars to get Po-210 out of Russia (or more likely the Americas) to kill Litvinenko? Why not hire an assassin with cheap bullets or poisons? Again, why send a Russian assassin with Russian atomic material? Why use atomic material?

Once Litvinenko died of apparent radiation poisoning the UK was going to find out what radiating material was the culprit. In these days after 9-11 anyone dying of radiation poisoning is going to be investigated until all the answers have been found. We don’t let people die from what could be nuclear bomb materials without knowing what happened. Which is why this cover story being pushed by Berezovsky and the UK authorities is so hard to accept.

I have been holding onto one item in my mind that pretty much kills the assassination idea, primarily because I do not want to give the wrong people ideas. But this is not something that takes a scientific background to realize and I would hope the authorities are skeptical enough to think of this anyway. But the thing is Litvinenko’s death by Po-210 could have been EASILY covered up.

Remember, an assassination is supposed to be planned, rehearsed, and reworked over and over again so as to NOT leave a trail. That is why this latest BS from the UK and Berezovsky is just too much to take. It smacks of a ten minute discussion, not a serious plan. Anyway, the way Litvinenko’s ‘assassination’ by Po-210 could have been completely covered up was by using Thallium to mask the Po-210.

Thallium is what everyone originally thought killed Litvinenko. Those wedded to the assassination theory claim Po-210 was chosen to fake out the doctors and the autopsy, to go undetected. That is another layman’s view of forensic science. It was obvious Litvinenko was dying of a massive radiation exposure. He was suffering much like those who had to deal with Chernobyl in its initial stages and died – it was that bad. Thallium is available in lots of places because it is used in medicine everywhere. It is also nowhere near as expensive as Polonium-210.

Po-210 , on the other hand, is rare and controlled because of its use in nuclear bomb triggers. And only a few places produce it. A Russian assassin would think to put enough Thallium into the toxic tea to cover the Po-210. To send the autopsy down a blind but obvious ally. But we all know it was the LACK of another plausible radiation source in Litvinenko’s system that led authorities to broaden their search and find the Po-210. Some cheap Thallium would have hidden the tracks. Seems strange it was not used.

Russians may be brutal bullies, but they are not stupid. They are the only other space faring nation on this planet, besides America, who have a regular human presence in space. cannot fathom them being so lame in carrying out assassinations that a barman could solve the mystery. No, this script we are being fed is really hard to swallow.

But what is not hard to figure out is Berezovsky and the UK authorities are working together to keep the facade up. So Berezovsky gets one of his friends to pretend to be an assassin, UK picks him up, offers him tea and a cigarette to satisfy the record, and then sends him back to mother Russia for a nice convenient story for the media to print to the ignorant masses. Why would they do that? Why would the UK authorities be co-authors of this convenient fiction? What is it they do not want people to know?

Could it be they do not want people to know lots of Polonium 210 was smuggled through London last year by someone associated with one of their intelligence assets? Was Berezovsky a UK spy in the Kremlin who is now playing the dissident in London? Could Litvinenko have been someone Berezovsky mistakenly brought over to London to work with him and turned out to be a big loser with wild ideas? Ideas that got him into a fast moneymaking scheme with Po-210? What is so bad the UK is willing to risk their nation’s relations with Russia in all this? Or are they risking anything with Russia? How many players are there in this stage production?

Again, if British authorities want to bring forward this mystery assassin and show links to Putin I am more than happy to be corrected. I prefer the assassination theory (one hit, minimal Po-210) to the smuggling theory in terms of a brighter future for all of us. But I cannot let a serious issue like this be addressed with such ridiculous claims. When will the silly stories end? What else would be covered by lame planted media stories? I am just trying to imagine what would cause the UK to back such lame stories like assassins being let go to go home.

Update: It seems the farce continues today with admission by authorities ‘decisions were made’ that allowed an assassin to go home

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair today confirmed the plot, saying he was “extremely satisfied” with the investigation into it.

Speaking about the individual arrested by police he said: “He is no longer in the country and there was a series of decisions which I was fully aware of and fully support.”

Mr Berezovsky told a press conference, packed with media from around the world: “I think the same people behind this plot were behind the plot against Alexander Litvinenko. Not only people in general, but Putin personally.”

Berezovsky is claiming Putin was behind the recent assassination attempt – convenient now that no one can question the assassin who is back home in Russia. Somehow the UK forgot to tell the Russians they were deporting one of their assassins too. Possibly because there was nothing to the story?:

Sources said that a Russian who was known to MI5 and MI6 was spotted as he arrived at Heathrow airport with a child.

Officers were aware he did not have children and decided to follow him, suspecting that he may have been using the child as a cover.

He was tailed for several days before an arrest was made at the Hilton Hotel in Park Lane, central London.

It is understood no weapons were found and there was not enough evidence to charge him with any offence, so a decision was taken to deport him back to Russia.

He [Berezovsky] said he had been warned about the plot by friends visiting from Moscow, who had links to the FSB, the successor to the KGB.

“They told me the FSB were creating a plot to kill me,” he said. “They told me someone who knew me would travel to London and would call to meet me, and he would kill me and would not try to hide.

Doesn’t sound like much of a plot to me? The guy went around London for a few days and was deported? OK. Whatever. However one thing has been confirmed. The supposed assassin was an associate of Berezovsky’s. As was Litvinenko and Lugovoi. All trails (people and Polonium) lead to Berezovsky – not Putin.

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