Aug 07 2008

UK Government Source Exposes How Litvinenko Assassination Theory Is Based On False Science

Yep, time again to reopen the Litvinenko file and once more prove that the UK’s theory Alexander Litvinenko died of an assassination attempt is scientifically implausible at best (if not impossible). All my posts on the Litvinenko case can be found here and are quite extensive. Anyone truly interested in the matter would best review these to see how shaky the entire assassination theory has been from day one, and how the story shifts to cover up initially implausible claims with new ones.

Very recently the UK news got another quote from a government source close to the investigation, and that quote attempts to answer one of my key points against the government’s case, and fails miserably. The quote goes directly to the implausible story of the Polonium-210 laced (Po-210) Tea Pot and Cup:

Mr Litvinenko died after drinking from a cup of green tea while with Mr Lugovoi and two other Russians at the Pine Bar of the Millennium Hotel in central London. The teapot was so irradiated that the bar and several employees suffered from contamination, including a pianist who drank from the teacup after it had gone through a dishwasher.

The source continued: “If he [Litvinenko] had drunk the whole cup of tea he would have died instantly. It is only because he sipped it that he lingered and polonium was detected.”

Scientifically this is impossible given the fact no one else outside Andre Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun, the two UK suspects also in the Pine Bar, were seriously exposed to Po-210. All other exposures in the Pine Bar, whether kitchen staff or customers, resulted in very low doses. The reason this is impossible is Po-210 is highly energetic and tends to travel around rooms easily, severely poisoning anyone in a matter of a breathe or two. Litvinenko died of an incredibly small, but deadly dose. Some reports have his dosage at a maximum of tens of millionths of a gram. The tea pot and cup apparently are orders of magnitude higher than that.  And I think I know why.

For comparison a gram is the amount of sweetener in one of those packets we all use in our coffee and tea. Ten millionths of that is a grain or two of the finer powder artificial sweeteners. It is much less than a grain of regular sugar.

Yet the Tea Pot and Cup discovered 6 weeks after Litvinenko died, and more like 10 weeks after the poisoning itself, show signs of Po-210 levels ‘off the charts’ – e.g., in quantities which would far exceed Litvinenko’s dosage – even from a sip of tea. I have discussed this scientifically impossible disconnect many times.

In this post I note how one government witness exposes some of the ‘evidence’ that leads the scientifically challenged UK authorities to an impossible conclusion by comparing the evidence found in the Pine Bar with other documented Po-210 contaminations which led to deaths. First the Pine Bar account:

I think the polonium was sprayed into the teapot. There was contamination found on the picture above where Mr Litvinenko had been sitting and all over the table, chair and floor, so it must have been a spray.”

Mr Andrade, from Brentwood, Essex, also revealed just how close he came to becoming an unintended second victim of the assassin. Shortly after the three men left the bar, Mr Andrade cleared the table. It was then that he noticed the contents of the teapot had turned a “funny colour”.

“When I poured the remains of the teapot into the sink, the tea looked more yellow than usual and was thicker – it looked gooey,” he recalled. “I scooped it out of the sink and threw it into the bin. I was so lucky I didn’t put my fingers into my mouth, or scratch my eye as I could have got this poison inside me.

“For nearly three weeks, we were working in a contaminated area. The dishwasher, the bar and the sink were contaminated. In the weeks after what happened, I was feeling hot and had a throat infection.

To have enough Po-210 to melt plant material we must be talking tenths of grams, not ten millionths of a gram. But as I said, Po-210 is very active and once it gets into the air it moves, propelled about by the radioactive decay process that makes it so dangerous. Now check out the descriptions of people dying in laboratories from Po-210 exposure covered in the same post:

A low-dose exposure was blamed for causing the death of Irene Joliot-Curie, the daughter of Marie Curie, who first isolated polonium.
Irene died in 1956 [ten years after the exposure – ajstrata] of leukemia caused by accidental exposure when a sealed capsule of the metal exploded on her laboratory bench.

The first polonium death occurred in 1927.
The victim was Nobus Yamada, a Japanese researcher in Marie Curie’s lab in France. In 1924, he worked with Curie’s daughter Irene Joliot-Curie to prepare polonium sources. After returning home the next year, Yamada fell ill.

The first signs of contamination were the traces of radiation on the laboratory desk of Israeli physicist Dror Sadeh. He had taken what he thought were adequate precautions against the hyperactive element.

But those precautions weren’t enough. Radiation was discovered “in my private home, and on my hands too and on everything that I touched,” he wrote in his diary.

Within a month, one student who worked in Sadeh’s lab at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, was dead from leukemia. The lab’s supervisor died a few years later — contaminated by polonium-210 as well, Sadeh suspected.

These were all scientists who were doing what they could to control and contain the Po-210. In the early cases in the Curie laboratory a container ‘exploded’ throwing the material into the air. As we saw in the later case this would have resulted in the material contaminating everything, surfaces, clothes, skin. In all these early cases death took months and years – not weeks.

So how could someone get a dose that kills in weeks or less in a public place like the Pine Bar, causing contamination of pictures on walls, chairs, floors, etc and only Litvinenko die? It’s not plausible, and I would dare say impossible. The Kitchen staff at the Pine Bar had the most exposure because of the steam carrying the contamination all over the place. Yet the dosage supposedly dropped to the point where they were only mildly poisoned while Litvinenko would experience the fastest death on record?

So how do we explain this incredibly hot tea pot and cup, yet the incredibly low levels of poisoning of everyone except Lugovoi and Kovtun in the Pine Bar? Well the first answer is to once again note the 10 weeks that went by between the poisoning and the ‘discovery’ of the tea pot. In my mind the UK case falls apart right here because there is no provable chain of custody for that tea pot and cup over those 10 weeks. The more likely answer is that someone, in possession of large quantities of Po-210, clumsily contaminated the tea pot and cup and left it to be discovered as evidence.

Remember, the tea pot and cup did not show up until 6 weeks after Litvinenko’s death and this became a serious investigation of radiation poisoning. Why so long between the death and discovery – when the tea pot and cup theory was out there PRIOR to Litvinenko dying!

But what is interesting is Gordievsky was sure the man with the poisoned tea was Lugovoi. And he was sure of this BEFORE Litvinenko died and tea cups and contaminated hotel rooms and bars and restaurants and planes and offices and homes and Moscow embassies were all found by police.

Gordievsky, a former KGB station head in London, who still refers to the FSB by its former name, insisted that he did not know the identity of the Russian would-be killer. But he assumed that the man was a former associate of Boris Berezovsky, the former oligarch and Yeltsin confidant, who has been granted political asylum in Britain.

The man came to London, posing as a businessman and a friend. He met Litvinenko at a hotel and put poison in his tea. That was before Litvinenko had lunch at a Japanese restaurant with the Italian he knew as Mario, who had arranged to meet him because he said he had information about the murder of Politkovskaya, a close friend.

Stunning how this friend of Boris Berezovsky, a Litvinenko associate, knew about the tea so early on? He is also one of those, who supposedly talked to Litvinenko before his death and learned these things (more here on the disconnected stories of Gordievsky’s and company). I think this is planted evidence clumsily concocted because those who contaminated the tea pot and cup did not have the faintest idea about how radiation levels work. They just slathered on the Po-210, not realizing it was probably hundreds of times higher in concentration than what killed Litvinenko. And that would explain how 4-6 weeks of intense government investigation of the Millenium Hotel missed the tea pot and cup before it showed up. It was found right after it arrived on the seen!

But there are three seriously poisoned characters in this play. One who died and two who nearly died. And there is one hot spot on the Po-210 trail across London, Germany and Moscow that shows the kind of radiation levels that are in line with the poisoning levels, and that is a 4th floor hotel room in the Millennium Hotel, where the Pine Bar is located:

The assassins were so bungling that they dropped the polonium on the floor of a London hotel room, a senior government source told The Daily Telegraph yesterday.


The senior government source, who is aware of the discussions of the Cabinet’s emergency committee, Cobra, said the picture of the killers that was emerging was closer to bungling assassins than cool James Bond-type killers.

Clear traces of the radiation were found on the floor of a room, thought to be in the Millennium hotel in central London, the source said, as well as on a light switch in the same room. The traces were so strong that they indicated the actual source of the radiation was present, not a secondary source such as excretions from Mr Litvinenko’s contaminated body.

This site points to evidence of a meeting between Lugovoi, Kovtun and Litvinenko BEFORE the Pine Bar meeting. And in earlier interviews Gordievsky would claim it was in this earlier meeting in the 4th floor room that Litvinenko was poisoned:

According to police sources, until now it has not been revealed that Litvinenko visited a fourth-floor room at the Millennium Hotel to discuss a business deal.

He had gone to the room with Mr Kovtun and another former Russian agent, Andrei Lugovoy.

The three men were joined in the room later by the mystery figure who was introduced as “Vladislav”.

Mr Gordievsky told The Times yesterday how “Vladislav was described as someone who could help Mr Litvinenko win a lucrative contract with a Moscow-based private security company.

“Sasha (his name for Litvinenko) remembered the man making him a cup of tea.

“His belief is that the water from the kettle was only lukewarm and that the polonium-210 was added, which heated the drink through radiation so he had a hot cup of tea. The poison would have showed up in a cold drink,” he added.

The hotel room where Litvinenko thought he was poisoned remains sealed off. This room reportedly showed the heaviest concentration of polonium-210 found at a dozen locations across London.

There is that tea again! But this time it is served in the hotel room. How is it this story was out there and then changed to the Pine Bar? Well, the first story was not holding up well for the assassination theory because it came too close to showing a Po-210 smuggling effort gone horrible awry. And the timeline was horrible because it led back to Boris Berezovsky’s office (or led from it!). So the poisoning had to move to a new location, a location where all three men were once again together. A location that could have been sprayed with contamination at ANY TIME after Litvinenko was poisoned and before he died and the investigation took off.

Scientifically the tea pot and cup are way too hot to be the vessels that killed Litvinenko, but left Lugovoi, Kovtun to survive severe poisoning and yet barely touch the over 50 other patrons and employees in the bar around the time of the poisoning. I have challenged anyone to prove Po-210 levels which stain porcelain and melt tea leaves could deliver only ten millionths of a gram of Po-210 in a sip of tea. Po-210, once airborne, travels too easily and is way too deadly as history has shown in previous ‘spills’. The idea a dishwasher steam laced with Po-210 did not wipe out the Pine Bar Kitchen staff is ludicrous on its face. Inhalation of Po-210 is much more damaging than ingestion (the stomach lining can act like the skin and shield the radiation and reduce the flow of the material into the body).

But what we do have THAT IS scientifically consistent is a spill in a hotel room that does map well to three people, and only three people, being poisoned. So the only question left is why does the UK government keep hanging onto their completely implausible theory? Probably because the real story, behind the scenes, is not something they want public.

Who would want to explain to the People of the United Kingdom how some of their intelligence assets (Berezovsky and Litvinenko) they paid for information were running a Po-210 smuggling ring in the center of London? That also seems more plausible than a KGB hit using a highly traceable and uncontrollable substance to assassinate a 3rd rate nobody like Alexander Litvinenko.

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “UK Government Source Exposes How Litvinenko Assassination Theory Is Based On False Science”

  1. Dongshow says:

    so what, are we supposed to assume the same with the anthrax case, and believe terrorists have there hands on all of this (from P0-210 to anthrax and beyond) and that it’s all more serious then anyone can imagine? If that really is the case why wouldn’t the british government let the truth be know, thereby radicalizing the public which in turn would allow it to more freely exert its will?

  2. AJStrata says:


    I have no idea why they are doing this, all I know is it is scientifically impossible for the dosage supposedly in the tea pot to only get Litvinenko killed and no one else in the room (outside of Lugovoi and Kovtun who could have been contaminated before hand) are barely touched. This wickedly hot brew somehow contaminated the walls, and floors and chairs, but no one nearby is dying?

    Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. In all the descriptions the tea is too contaminated to have killed Litvinenko the way he died (melted, gooey tea leaves?) and impossibly too hot to not have wiped out the entire bar by now.

    It is not a plausible scenario. Now, what is the right one? We need to see the evidence in hand to figure that out.

  3. Koba says:

    Hi AJ,

    Did you see this recent libel case won by Berezovsky?

    I suspect your analysis of the case is closer to the mark but the UK and Russian authorities – not to mention Berezovsky – all have an interest in throwing around other theories.

    I’m interested in the terrorism angle. This news item from last week talks about the increased risk of terrorist ‘dirty bombs’ in the UK:

    There are too many bizarre connections in the Litvinenko case – the Scaramella nuclear smuggling link, the dubious ‘security consultants’ and the Chechen/Islamist networks, to name but a few. The idea that Litvinenko was involved in Polonium smuggling is hardly outlandish, which means that accidental poisoning could easily have taken place. But who would the intended recipient of the material have been?

    I wish you would reopen the case, AJ. 😉